Today I am writing for my best friend Krista. I am writing for the pain she is feeling and the ache in her heart. Today I am writing in remembrance of a friend.
I still remember October 9, 2011 so perfectly. I remember every second, every single moment. At times, it is as though it happened yesterday. I think I remember every detail because of the regrets I carry with me about that day. I regret that I left my phone on silent and didn’t receive the oddly misplaced text message from my best friend at five in the morning. I regret that I slept through the vibrations of almost 20 phone calls because I had been out late the night before. I regret more than anything not being awake so I could be there for my friend when she needed me the most.
When I did finally awake, it was by my alarm set for work. And as with with every other day, the first thing I did after opening my eyes was grab my phone. I knew something was wrong immediately by the odd assortment of random numbers that had been bombarding my cell phone, but I couldn’t even begin to guess what was waiting at the other end. Before I had time to listen to even one of my voice mails the phone rang again. The immediate sobs of my best friend, Elaine, told me something was wrong, but I wasn’t prepared for the devastating news she told me. I took the inevitable first step into grief within seconds. I immediately entered into denial. Over and over and over and over I told her I didn’t believe the terrible news she had told me. Over and over I made her tell me again what happened. Of course she didn’t have much news. Just the awful truth. We had lost a friend, and our best friend was now irrevocably broken.
I remember getting off the phone and dialing Krista’s long distance number. I knew I needed to talk to her, but I had no idea what to say. I wanted to make sure she was okay but I knew that she might never be okay again. I wanted nothing more than to go to her, but I had no way of making it happen. Those first few minutes, and every minute since I have felt little else but useless in comforting my lifelong friend. Our phone call didn’t last long as she was in her car and I couldn’t understand most of what she said through her sobs, but once more, I remember regretting. I regretted how impotent I was in this situation. I regretted not being able to console my friend. Why couldn’t I think of anything reassuring to say? Why couldn’t I tell her everything was going to be okay? Why couldn’t I be comforting at all? We hung up after accomplishing nothing and I finally allowed myself to break down. I sobbed and sobbed until my boyfriend found me and I told him what had happened. I cried for my loss, but more than anything, I cried for my Krista.
I didn’t know Zach well, I knew him only because of his love for my best friend, a love that I will forever be grateful for, but still I feel forever changed by his loss. To me, Zach was a friend. He was the easiest guy to talk to, the nicest guy you could imagine, and no matter what mood you were in, his accent would put a smile on your face. I still grin every time I think of the first time he called me ma’am. To me, Zach was an intellectual, and one who was eager to share everything that was on his mind. He gave me advice whenever me and Krista demanded a guys much needed opinion and he did it happily, always wanting to share his world views. To me, and to everyone he touched, Zach was a great man. And one year later, his loss has not lessened at all. It is still felt as though it happened mere seconds ago.
But the silver lining that those optimists go on about is this: The pain everyone who knew him still feels today, the pain as though he was with them just seconds ago; it is a testament to his character. It means that none of the stories about how great a person he was were said in vain. Not one thing uttered about his carefree spirit and caring heart were a lie. He truly was one of the good ones. He truly did change the lives of many even in his terribly short life.
So for my friend Krista and her Zach, I want to say goodbye once more to a truly wonderful guy. Zach, you gave my friend the happiest years of her life. Zach, you will never be forgotten.