My friend died last month.
She shot herself and it was shocking, it was painful, and mourning her was difficult, because she was my friend...my high school friend. My best friend when I was 16 years old.
But now I am 22, and I went away to college and I never wanted to be home and I lived a life that didn't involve her except on Facebook birthday posts, that one time I ran into her at a bar, and the whispered news of the unraveling girl that I use to whisper my life to.
The funeral was stepping back in time to Mike's Hard Pink Lemonade, sleepovers and screamo music I pretended to like because all my friends did. They were all there, shell shocked and crying because they lost their best friend and I was there with tissues because I lost her way before then.
I was surrounded by people who spoke to her on her last day, people who knew her struggles, people who still exchanged Christmas gifts with her and I felt like I did not deserve to cry for her.
Not because she died with us hating each other. We never had a blow up, angry words or avoided glances by the lockers. Our friendship fizzled out into a friendship forever locked in high school. Because when I moved away our texts stopped. She didn't know who my crush was, who I wanted to kiss, what my dreams turned into. She wasn't there to push me to tell someone I liked them, to tell me to stop worrying so much, to laugh at my stupid jokes. And I wasn't there for her to talk to when she needed support the most.
But losing a friend already gone to you, doesn't take away your right to mourn.
The day of her funeral I found her Christmas gift to me, a stupid little toy yellow car with a post-it saying "yellow car, you win. Love Always, Tre" and I can't stop looking at it.
So we lost touch. We didn't cry on each others shoulders when things got to hard and we weren't each other secret keepers anymore. We were high school best friends.
But we will always be high school best friends. She will forever be the girl that told me to kiss him first. The one that told me feeling stuck in our neighborhood wasn't permeant, the one that left me dreaming to get out, the one who knew I would make it.
And just because I wasn't there the last few years, does not mean she wasn't a part of me for life.
Because best friends change you forever and she made me me. And no time, distance, or lost contact can take that away.