Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Friend Eddie Lafflin This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     My friend and I sat on the floor whispering as my sister slept in the bedroom.

"Who is that with your sister?" she asked, pointing to a bent Polaroid on the table by my sister’s bed. It was a snapshot of my sister and Eddie. They both looked so happy, and I smiled as I began to answer her question. "It’s an old friend ..."

Fifteen years older than my sister, Eddie was diagnosed with cancer. When a tumor was discovered in his hip they thought it could be easily removed, but they were wrong. When the tumor ruptured during surgery, doctors feared its fluid would quickly spread the cancer throughout his body. In an effort to prevent this, the doctors decided to amputate his leg. This was not even a possibility before the operation. Eddie expected to return to his high-school basketball team, but awakened without a leg and with his life in jeopardy.

Spending months in the hospital was something Eddie became used to. His mother, balancing a career and caring for his three other brothers, could visit only rarely. In an attempt to overcome loneliness, he began to "adopt" families but eventually they would be released. Then he met Claire. Only three years old, my sister was one of the few patients admitted to the hospital for months at a time because of a disease discovered when she was ten weeks old. Eddie found comfort in her innocence.

He would often visit her room, and would bring my mother to tears as she laughed at his impressions of the doctors and nurses who raced in and out of the room. He would take Claire to the playroom where she would walk next to his wheelchair, one hand on her IV and the other on his arm. He would check in on her at least once a day and whether he was teaching her to play Nintendo or sitting her on his lap and rolling her up and down the hallways, he loved being around her.

He liked how she always smiled even when she’d just had an operation. All the funny things she did without intending to amused him. One day she gave everyone kisses as she twisted her head back and forth. Finally Eddie asked her why she was doing that and she said, "’Cuz that’s how Mommy and Daddy kiss." With Eddie, my sister had someone to relate to and look up to, and he soon became her first best friend.

Eventually my sister was released from the hospital, but our relationship with Eddie continued. We visited him on Christmas, and the staff even had a party for him when he turned 17. As time pressed forward, we learned more from him, but we also saw him begin to decline. The boy who had once worried about basketball and girls now worried about surviving.

Though his own life was ending, he was allowed time to touch another’s, and I only wish he knew how much he meant to my sister. If there was one thing Eddie loved, it was children, and he made it known when he began planning his funeral. Since he wanted it to be dedicated to his memories with my sister, he included a picture of the two of them on the cover of the program. He also promised that he would watch over all the babies admitted to the hospital, and act as their guardian angel.

Even after he passed away on July 16, 1997, his friendship continues to impact our lives. I believe every person intends to do something to be remembered by. Eddie accomplished this in a fraction of a lifetime, and will always be remembered by the love he showed to his friends and family.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback