- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Don't Cry Because I'm Gone
“Don’t Cry Because I’m Gone”
My head was pounding. I put my right hand over my heart. In less than 24 hours a new heart would be keeping me alive.
“I’m so nervous,” I said to my boyfriend, Steven.
“I know you are. But I promise it will be okay. I’ll be thinking about you every second. Relax, Rose. Please.” We were sitting on my living room couch. He grabbed my hand and our fingers locked. I buried my head in his chest, while his fingers ran smoothly through my hair. We sat there for a while, just thinking. Thoughts about the surgery filled my mind. Anything could go wrong, but it was something I had to do. I was deep in my thoughts when Steven nudged me.
“What!?” I jumped, “Oh, sorry.”
“Rose are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Just…you know…nervous.”
“Well my mom is waiting for me. I have to go.” We stood up. Steven pulled me close and wrapped his arms around me. I wrapped my arms around his waist and we just stood there. He was hugging me tighter than ever before and I thought he would never let go. I didn’t care about anything else at that very moment. I felt safe and I would’ve stayed in his arms forever if I could. My eyes closed as he gently kissed my forehead. I looked up into his light blue eyes when he spoke.
“Rose, I love you. Don’t forget that,” he grabbed my hands as we stood across from each other, “Try not to worry, okay? I love you and everything will be just fine.” His eyes began to fill with tears. I’ve never seen him like this…so emotional.
“Are you going to visit me when I’m home?” I asked.
“I can’t promise that, but I love you.”
“What do you mean you can’t promise that?”
“I will try my best. But I love you no matter what. And I will do anything for you. Anything, Rose. My heart is yours and only yours.” He leaned in to kiss me one last time. I opened the door and he walked out, hands in his jacket pockets.
He turned, “Goodnight Rose. I love you!”
“I love you too!” I stood there, looking at the smile on his face as he hopped in his car. The headlights flashed ahead down the street and he beeped the horn. Then he was gone. His car vanished into the night sky.
My hospital gown was the most comfortable thing I ever wore. It was light blue and it flowed when I walked. But I was laying down now in the operating room. My hands were trembling as the doctors injected me with anesthesia and I did the only thing left to do.
…if I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take…amen.
My eyelids began to grow heavy. Everything from that point, until I woke up, was a blur.
Pain. Pain was the first thing I felt when I woke up about an hour and a half later. It took me a couple of seconds to remember where I was and what I just had done. It was a little strange knowing I had a different heart inside of me. But it was a strong, healthy heart and I needed it.
It was a couple of days after the surgery, when I was back home, that I noticed Steven didn’t contact me at all. This wasn’t like him. I didn’t worry about it too much at first but after a week- and- a half, I began to wonder why he didn’t even call or stop by to see me.
One chilly, winter afternoon, my mom and I were sitting at the kitchen table. I was doing some work I missed from when I was out of school. And my Mom was reading the newspaper and sipping her warm hot chocolate.
“Awe! Look at these poor little kittens in the shelter,” she shoved the pet adoption article right into my face. Although my love for animals isn’t as strong as hers, I still have to admit the kittens were adorable. I bit my lip and nodded. I scanned the page and on the bottom something jumped at me. It couldn’t be, my hands began to tremble as I was holding the paper upright, I went to grab the table to brace myself when I accidentally knocked the orange juice down to the floor.
“Oh my God, are you alright? Is it your heart, let me call the doctor!”
My mom’s words were a blur, I leaned down slowly, and my heart was pounding louder as I stared at the words swirled in black ink. I looked back to where I thought I saw his name. My eyes skimmed all of the other names in the same column as Steven’s. Why would he be in the newspaper? But then I saw it. Now I knew why he was avoiding me. I knew why he didn’t call or come to visit me. The title his name was under read, ‘Obituaries.”
My mind was in a thousand places at once. I knew this couldn’t have been true.
“I’m so sorry honey,” my mom stood up and came to hug me. “This is terrible.” But I just sat there with a blank stare. Tears came running down the sides of my cheeks faster than a waterfall. One after another. Pushing my mom away, I went to go hide in my room.
Days went by. My heart ached more and more and I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I wasn’t able to find out what exactly happened to Steven since he ran away from home when he was 18. So I couldn’t even contact his family about it.
I was lonely without him. It’s hard knowing the person you loved for two and a half years is gone now…forever.
One question always lingered in the back of my mind. It was something I was determined to find out- how did Steven die?. I couldn’t get a clear answer from anyone. The people I asked either didn’t know him or they didn’t know how he died. It bothered me. I wasn’t able to function and I was still devastated.
It was a Monday when I went back to school for the first time with a new heart. My friends swarmed me, asking how the surgery went.
“Everything went fine,” I replied to them. I wasn’t really in the mood to be bothered with questions. I walked with my friend, Sammi, to my locker before first period, to put my coat and purse away. It was weird being back in school again- with all of the noise and crowded hallways. I reached to put my coat on the hook when I saw a piece of folded lined paper. On the top was my name. I unfolded it carefully, wondering who on earth this could be from. I lifted the last fold, and looking at the full sheet of paper, my jaw dropped. My stomach sank and my thoughts drowned out the shouting and laughing in the hallways. I was overwhelmed with different feelings:
You have my heart. I told you it was yours to keep. Take good care of it and think of me when you feel it pounding. Don’t cry because I’m gone. But, smile because of the amazing times we had together. And don’t you forget that I love you, Rose.
I felt the tears. And I felt my heart pounding. Steven lost everything just to keep me alive. And then I knew, he was truly amazing.