In high school I was friends with a girl who was very toxic, and when I began digging myself out of depression I cut her out of my life and didn’t speak to her for a year.
We had a very close relationship while we were friends, but for an entire year we never spoke a word to each other, not even a ‘hello’ when we passed each other in the hallways at school.
Then, one day, she texted me, inviting me to one of her parties she held every year. I didn’t want to go, considering I knew nobody who was going and we weren’t friends anymore, but I wanted to get away from my parents for a night, so I forced myself to go.
The party, unexpectedly, was very exciting and adventurous, and somehow I ended up being one of the last to leave the party.
She and I were in the pool together striking up a conversation for the first time in a year. While conversing I realized that she changed in a years time and was now a much happier person.
“It’s late, I better get going,” I had told her while stepping out of the pool.
“Awe really? Okay, well thanks for coming!” she smiled, throwing me a beer and I (surprisingly) caught it.
“Of course. Thanks for inviting me. Honestly, I didn’t think you would.”
“Jane, I know our friendship ended badly, but you’ll always be one of the best friends I’ve ever had.”
“Hey can I tell you something?” She had nodded and I continued, “I’m really proud of how far you’ve come, and if you ever need anything I’ll always be here for you.”
Two days later she was texting and driving on a bridge, hit a car at a fast speed, and her car fell off the bridge with her still inside of it. She didn’t survive the crash.
It was very painful attending her funeral, but I am very lucky my last words to her weren’t “I don’t want to be friends anymore,” and instead more kind, heartfelt, and honest.
“It’s okay Camper, Momma and Dadda get sick too – you are being very brave, now get some sleep, I love you.”
My two-year and nine month-old son, who’s name was Camper, had the best day of his life on Saturday. Two birthday parties – one at the beach and one at his cousins’ house with great friends and family.
The following day, he woke up with a headache. He was very smart and well spoken and told us (my wife and I) that his head hurt in the morning. We assumed he was probably a little dehydrated and just not feeling the well from all the cake and party action on the previous day.
My wife had to see clients that day, so I spent the day with Camper. We watched the movie A Bug’s Life, but he was throwing up and napping throughout the day. I just thought he had a general sickness. My brother-in-law was a pediatrician at the time, so he advised us to make sure Camper stayed hydrated with some Pedialyte. We did that, then put him down for bed that night, which is when I said, “It’s okay Camper, Momma and Dadda get sick too – you are being very brave, now get some sleep. Sweet dreams. I love you.”
And to be honest, I don’t really know if I said “I love you” – I regularly tell my children that, but for the life of me, I cannot exactly remember. It feels better to think that I did, even though he knew that anyway. I told him a few times throughout the day that he was being brave, because he didn’t cry or complain at all.
He never woke up from that final sleep. We ended up taking him, unresponsive, to the trauma room that night. He had an undiagnosed brain tumor that I guess just slowly grew as he got older. Slow enough that his brain could adjust and we never once saw any symptoms. And finally, on that day, it ruptured an artery in his brain and that was the end of his very bright, very full, very short life.
EDIT: I just wanted to add a couple things. First, I’m a very private person and was torn sharing this story with the public. But, when I saw the question, I felt compelled to answer, so I’m sticking with it. All of your well wishes are very kind and helpful.
Also, I wanted to add that we were able to donate Camper’s very healthy heart to a little girl that now gets to live on. We know that Camper’s time on this earth was short, but very impactful on many lives.
Empo, my mother’s aunt, has been living with our family for thirty years. She died of stroke early last year. She was 90 years old.
I almost didn’t say goodbye. It was eleven at night, and our flight to Japan was in six hours’ time. If I wanted to say that I was leaving, I had to knock on her door that very instance.
‘She would already be sleeping, wouldn’t she?’ I asked Mom.
‘No, she’s still awake,’ Mom said. ‘Go now.’
So I went down the stairs and knocked on her door. The stay-at-home nurse opened. Her room was already dark. Empo was laying on the bed, watching the TV. She noticed that someone had entered the room, and asked, ‘Who is it?’
‘It’s Ella,’ I said. I walked towards the side of her bed, leaning forward and placing my mouth right beside her ear.
‘Po, I will be going tomorrow for holiday,’ I said. ‘Be well, Empo. Eat a lot. Take care.’
Empo nodded and asked, ‘When going back Melbourne?’
‘January ninth,’ I said.
She nodded. ‘Well, then, enjoy the trip. Have fun.’ She put her hand on my shoulder and patted me. This was odd, as she was usually unhappy when we left her for the holiday. I kissed her left cheek and then her right, waving my hands and slowly closing the door to her room.
‘Be well,’ I whispered.
Empo had stroke when we were still in Japan. My parents caught a flight home right away, but my older sister and I weren’t able to get on an earlier flight. Empo never woke up from her coma. But my parents got there in time, Facetimed us and right after my sister and I said goodbye a second time, she passed away.
I almost didn’t say goodbye. But I’m sure glad that I did.