The Survivors of Life

March 3, 2010
I let out a sigh as I hang up the phone. My head aches. I crawl over to my tattered blue treasure chest, which houses all of my valuable items, in search of my Bose speakers. I can only think clearly when I have The Eagles and Blitzen Trapper by my side. Carefully, I lift all of my faded records from the scarred blue surface and unlock the chest.
“The only person I have is dying.” Her words echo in my head; desolate and lost.
Playing Citizen Cope on my speakers, I begin to think. My thoughts tumble round and round, flashing and subsiding to the beat of the music.
“I don’t even remember what her voice sounds like.” Again, I hear her confiding in me, her voice muffled by her sobbing.
What do you do when your best friend is dying and your other best friend is dropping you because she can’t handle what you’re going through? What do you do when your dying best friend is moving to England because of the free healthcare? What do you do when you the next time you see her after she leaves will be when she is dead?
My friend Lanie is loyal. She is honest and caring and has a huge personality for such a small person. But this past year she has been to hell and back. Her best friend Emma was born with her back at a ninety degree angle, and is plagued by spinal muscular astrophy with a form of muscular dystrophy. The fact that Emma is even breathing today is a miracle in itself.
This past summer is when Lanie began to unravel from her carefully strewn blanket of self-composure. Growing distant from her group of friends, Lanie became isolated. Emma caught pneumonia and was stuck in the hospital for three months. Lanie fell into depression. The ship in which she had been floating on her entire life was now sinking, and she was tied to the mast.

Whenever I think about what Lanie has endured, I am stunned. I am in awe. I hold the utmost respect for this girl, and yet there is only so much I can do. It’s the hardest thing to watch a friend trek across the treacherous waters of issues such as death and loneliness and rejection. It’s the hardest thing to listen to a friend grasp the meaning of writing a speech for her best friend’s funeral.

Tonight wasn’t a good night. I listened and cooed and comforted Lanie as she wept into the phone, all the while feeling utterly helpless. And with a shock, I realized there were many others just like Emma and Lanie in the world; the survivors of life struggling to make it through just one more day.

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