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I remember the day like it was just yesterday. My mom and I were just sitting on the couch watching TV like it was any normal day, but it was not. It was the day my best friend and I were separated by life, love, and the Lord.
We got a phone call from the principal. I asked my mom, “Who is it? Who is it?” but she would not answer. I asked her again, but still no answer.
All she would say was, “Uh huh, yes…” Then she walked out to the garage, phone still pressed to her ear almost like with glue. When she came in, all she could say was, “I am so sorry, sissy.”
I asked her, “What happed? What happened?” She just cried. I could not figure it out.
She told me to sit down. Then, she started to cry harder. I asked again with a much softer, almost teary voice, “What happened?”
She mumbled just loud enough that I could hear her, “Sarah was in a car accident.”
“What?” I said surprised. “Is she okay?”
“She was killed. I am so sorry, sissy.”
As soon as she said that I burst into tears. All I could say was, “NO! It’s not true. She is my best friend. It is not true!”
My mom just kept saying, “I am so sorry,” not knowing anything else to say.
I sat and cried for a while hugging my mom so tight she could barely breathe.
Then something hit me - my other friends. They don’t know. Well at least I didn’t know if they did or not.
I then walked about two blocks with my dad to Makenna’s house. When we got there, we could see Makenna’s mom sitting on the step with someone. We figured it was Makenna, but when we got up there it was her dog.
Makenna’s mom could tell I was crying, so she asked me what was wrong. I could not bring myself to say it because I did not want it to be true. My dad told her and then Makenna’s mom went and got Makenna from their neighbor’s house while my dad and I went inside.
By the time they got back to their house, Makenna’s mom had already told her and she was balling. Makenna and I sat and talked for a while then decided we should call Mikaela and Sonya. Makenna and I couldn’t do it, so our parents called.
Sonya and Mikaela came over as soon as they could. When they got there, Makenna and I greeted them at the door. We were all crying as they came in. (That is still the only time I have ever seen Mikaela cry.)
We sat there and talked about the good times and the bad times with Sarah. By the end of the night, about 10:00 p.m., we were all laughing. We were also really tired, so we said our goodbyes and went home to bed.
The next day, the first day of school seemed like it lasted forever. My mom drove me to school. The first thing we did was go to advisory and they told us what happened. (Boy, was I glad I learned the night before, or I would have lost it. I kind of did anyway.) After that, everyone was going around saying, “Oh, it is just a joke. She will be back tomorrow! It is just a joke!” I would have gave anything to have that been a joke.
On Thursday, we went to her visitation. It was so weird seeing her, in what she was going to the wear to school the first day, lifeless. After we saw her, we went and talked to her family. They were asking who everyone was. When we told them our names, they burst into tears. “Sarah talked about you guys all the time. She loved you so much,” they said. This made us cry too of course. Sarah’s mom said that the only thing we had to do was keep Sarah in our hearts forever, never forget her, and never let her spirit die. We promised we would, and so far we have.
Friday was her funeral. Lauren came with me for support. We had to leave school early to get there. When we got there, we all got our notes out that we wrote her and put them with her. I put my note that was in a shape of a heart, on her heart. We also all wore the blue necklaces we made and our blue shirts. Blue was her favorite color.
I think I cried more tears at that funeral then my body could hold. The hardest part was when people started telling stories about Sarah that I was there for and could just picture in my mind.
After that, we went out to the cemetary. Everyone said his or her goodbyes. Mikaela, Makenna, Sonya, some of her other close friends, and I got a flower from the top of her casket. I still have that flower now.
After about a week or so, the four of us decided we wanted to do something really nice for Sarah’s family. We made them a book with all the pictures and memories of Sarah we could think of.
Some of the memories were from when Sarah and I were little. One was when Sarah and I first met in kindergarten and we knew we would be friends. Another was when we were in second grade and we would pretend we were mermaids “swiming” all over the playground. A lot of the memories were from when we were older with all four of us or maybe just some of us. There were even some small memories like she liked blue or wore flip-flops all the time. My favorite memories by far though were all those little funny stories about her that we put in there.
When we gave the book to her family, they just loved it. We sat at her mom’s house and read it with them. After that, we went to the cemetery to see her. There was dragonfly stuff all over her plot.
There is dragonfly stuff because when Sarah died her mom was not in Iowa and did not get to say goodbye. When she got back, she went to the hospital, then to the site of the crash. There was a swarm of dragonflies that flew by; she said they were Sarah. Since then there have been dragonflies all over Sarah’s mom’s house, where Sarah and her sisters talked, the cemetery, and they have also been around me wherever I go.
(The Navajo saw the dragonfly as a symbol for “pure water” - pure water in our culture is a symbol for life, purity, or spirit.) I wonder if her spirit decided to finally leave this earth the moment her mother drove past – and in that way, she said goodbye.
After she died, I decided I wanted something in my room all about her. I now have a shelf totally about Sarah. On it are dragonflies, pictures of us, a bracelet I gave her when we were little, my green organ donor bracelets from her funeral, my flower from her casket, and my copy of the book we made. I also have dragonflies all over my room.
Once the school kind of settled back down, we decided we wanted to do something at the school for her. We decided to plant a tree and get a dragonfly bench. When we had the tree planting, the four of us all talked about Sarah and helped plant the tree. Her family was invited. They came and thanked us very much for all that we had done for Sarah and them.
It has been over a year since she died. It has been hard, but I did get through it. It has taught me to live my life to the fullest and trust my friends with my life, because we don’t know how long anyone has. This first year seemed like it lasted about ten, but now I think I can finally get on with my life. I will never forget Sarah though. She was my best friend and she taught me you have to love life no matter what happens.