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You Raise Me Up
Laughter and joy fills the air. The two little girls dance and spin in the snow, until they fall down, in giggles. Phoebe remembers those times well. The times before Lily fell ill. In the summer of 2000, Phoebe was ten, Lily was nine. It was a stormy day, lightning striking the sky, tearing it apart, as thunder raced through miles and miles of blackness. Rain poured down in buckets. The wind wailed and cried. Phoebe was sitting on her bed, knees pulled to her chest, arms locking them in. At about ten o’clock, the phone rang, startling Phoebe from her silence. It was Lily’s mom. Her voice was choked up and muffled. But, phoebe heard her loud and clear. Lily had been diagnosed with Leukemia. Days past, and Phoebe’s best friend was still laying in the hospital. When Phoebe had gone to see her, she was shocked at the physical state of her friend. Despite the fact that Lily was younger, she had always been the stronger of the two. Always standing up to bullies, always eager for adventure. That Lily was gone. In her place, was a weak helpless one. Her skin was waxy, eyes hallow. Her dark red hair was tangled and limp. Her once, sparkling blue eyes, were now dull and flat. It scared Phoebe to see her like this. Quietly, she had shuffled up to Lily’s bed, and took her hand. Lily had grinned weakly.
As long as Phoebe was here, she had thought, everything will be ok. But it wasn’t. Weeks passed, and a few times, Lily had been released, only to be back again when the disease weakened her some more. Phoebe was suffering along with her. Her own hair became tangled and limp, her eyes dull, and her skin, colorless. But, knowing she had to be strong for her friend, would hastily comb her hair, in the car ride over, sprinkle some of her mother’s blush across her cheeks, and go visit her friend. Being unable to see Lily in that state, she began to do the same for her. The two spent hours together. Phoebe would comb Lily’s hair, until it shined like a new copper penny. Meanwhile, Lily would make up wild fantastic stories, that, with each new story, Phoebe would begin to believe her only friend was finally getting better. One day they were sitting on Lily’s bed, giggling over the newest, Pop Star magazine, when, out of the blue, Lily sat up, and grabbed Phoebe’s hand.
“Promise me something?” she asked, steadily holding her gaze.
“Be strong. If I’m not here one day, you must not go back to being quiet, shy and timid. If you do, you will have let me down. You must come out of that little turtle shell that you’re always hiding under, and live! You cannot go through life with your head down! Open up! Let people get to know you, and see that you are the most amazing human being there is! Don’t go back to being scared about everything! Take a stand! Be strong!”
“For me.” She added quietly.
“Lily! Don’t say that! You will get-“
“Promise.” Lily interrupted.
The next week, Phoebe, got a call. Lily had lost her battle.
At the funeral, her parents gave her an envelope addressed to her. They had found it under her mattress.
I just wanted to let you know, that without you, I would have died after that first surgery. You were the stone I held onto, my one beam of light, leading me on. I know you always believed, I was the strong one. I did it for you. I wanted to show you it was ok, you could lean on me. In truth, I always leaned on you. Do you remember our song, You raise me up? I loved that song because it reminded me of you. How you always held me up above danger. If you are reading this, I may have lost my battle, or I may have won. Either way, just know, I love you.
You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders,
You raise me up, to more than I can be.
I’ll love you forever and always,
Your best friend,