April 17, 1996: The phone rang, bringing words and sobs that told the story of a dead friend. In an instant a nightmare became reality and over a year later I am still unable to open my eyes and escape its horror. However, the death of Skye has made me stronger and taught me something about who I want to be.
I first met Skye through my mom. At first she was just a baby-sitter like any other, but she soon became more. She was my friend and my protector, although separated by only three years, we had the bond of sisterhood. We had so much in common that it seemed simple to open up to her. We both came from broken homes, our single moms trying to raise children and make a living. Neither of us had a lot, but we had our family and we had each other.
Skye and I not only shared an understanding of what life was like at home, but we shared the same interests, dreams, passions and goals. We shared the silly dream as well as serious needs. We both wanted to better ourselves, to make our lives better than our mothers'. We yearned for this because we saw, firsthand, how difficult and cruel life could be. Our role models, our moral support and our guiding lights were two of the strongest, most independent women we knew: our mothers. We learned from their mistakes and knew which way our lives were headed. Although our mothers were very bright women, they could not get any further than clerical jobs due to a lack of a college degree. From this, Skye and I realized that higher education was the first step. We dreamed of college, careers, getting married, children and the endless possibilities life has to offer.
We wanted to take life into our hands and live it to the fullest. It's hard to be sitting here writing of these dreams and know that Skye will never live them. She was working hard at a local daycare center while taking classes at the community college. She was on her way to becoming a successful business women, but the craziness of this world took her life days before she turned nineteen.
The death of Skye no longer lives with me. Rather I live with it. It's not to say that I have forgotten her - that would be impossible- she was part of me and always will be. Her death shook me more than anything I know, but now her memory is a part of my faith, hope, strength, motivation, and courage. I realize that tomorrow may not always be there and because of this, I won't settle for less than I
am capable of, or for less than I deserve. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.