As a carefree child growing up, I used to view life as perpetual, thinking that my friends would laugh with me again tomorrow, that we would spend 8 more hours together and have endless fun. All this and more was what I expected each day. When tragedy struck in 2 weeks before my junior year in high school , however, I suddenly became disillusioned and reached a new realization. Life is like the wind; it comes and goes as quickly as it first arrives. I met her on the first day of 6th grade. As everyone filed into the classroom, I remember hearing the crawling sound of a motor so I turned around to look. There was a young petite girl sitting in a remote control wheelchair bravely facing the stares of people around her. During recess, I saw her alone on the blacktop watching with wonder at students playing football or jumping ropes. Seeing that she might be lonely, I walked over to strike a conversation with her, and immediately, we became friends; her name was Jazmine. Over the course of the next two years, our bond grew stronger as I read with her during recess, ate lunch with her, packed her backpack, and walked her to the bus after school. Come the summer of 2007 grade, it was time for us to part - temporarily at least. I had to go to Africa for the whole summer, while she spend time with her family in New Jersey. We looked forward to continue our relationship and being reunited in 11th grade. It was only the first two weeks of August, when my mother received the tragic news and told me that Jazmine had died from cancer. Stunned and shocked, I didn't know what to do or what to think. When i was talking to her on the phone last night. It was my first experience with death and I never saw it coming. My heart dropped miles into an empty black hole in my stomach. I thought about the promises we had made to keep in touch, disbelieving that they were never to be fulfilled. Her funeral was one of the saddest days of my life. I remember crying so hard and feeling the weight of the world upon me. Seeing her for the last time in her coffin was so surreal, as I recalled it was only months ago when I had made those promises with her, promises that were now lost and empty words. Although 11th grade years have passed, I still haven't forgotten her. Every time I help someone by teaching them or simply cheering them up, I trace my compassion back to Jazmine. Jazmine and I formed an unbreakable bond, but her death taught me something more - the need to value every minute of friendship and make it count for something, whether it'd be an undying memory or simply, a laughing experience. Despite what I used to believe, friends are not forever. One day they might be there, the next day they might not, and you never know which moment you spend with them will be the last.
Cheerish Every Moment
February 28, 2009