In the second grade I yelled at you because you got too close for comfort in the lunch line and I told you to stop “squishing me like a sandwich.”
I didn’t know it then, but you would become a great friend and leave an imprint on my life for years to come.
At 20-years-old, you don’t prepare for death. You don’t prepare to lose your friends. You don’t think about life after they’re gone. You shouldn’t have to.
I don’t think your passing will fully hit me for awhile. I know you’re gone— I know that. I’ve cried so much my eyes swelled up like purple balloons. But I still find myself wanting to text you ridiculous pictures of animals and funny pictures of myself with a double chin or an ugly face. I want to text you that I’m here for you and that I love you and that I’m glad we’re friends. I want to receive a text back saying “I love you too” with two pink hearts. I want to go back to the days we were still in school and find ourselves in situations we shouldn’t be in. I want to take ridiculous pictures of ourselves doing silly things. I want you to be here.
I find myself thinking about all the times I could have been a better friend or listener. I think about times I could have been less selfish and more caring. I wonder about the what if’s and the should and could haves. I wonder, I wonder…
I wish I had better words to type or better thoughts to share. Truthfully, all I know is that I am going to miss you more than I prepared myself for. I always told myself that this day would never come. I always thought “it’ll probably never happen…she’ll get better,” but you didn’t.
You’re a way better woman than I will ever be. Your strength and attitude alone is more profound than my entire being. You were a special soul, a silly individual, a beautiful woman.
And girl, if I could have switched places with you, I swear I would have.
I’m glad you’re at peace now, wherever that may be. I’m glad your suffering has ceased and that must be a beautiful feeling. I like to imagine you’re with angels now, keeping an eye out for all of us in this world. Whatever world you’re in right now, I can’t wait to see you again. And maybe if you’ve met my dad, you can tell him I love him? Or maybe just inform him how much of a pain in the ass I’ve grown to be?
Colleen, please know your death is not in vain. I swear to you that your passing will make me a better person. I’ll be more caring and less self-centered. More thoughtful and less impatient. I’ll be kinder to friends and even more kind to strangers. I’ll preach sunscreen until the day I die. You will not be forgotten. Your story will not be ignored.
You’ve touched so many lives and I’m thankful to be one of them. Above all else, I’m thankful for every memory we’ve ever made. Your life and your death have taught me more than I imagined it would.
You were a beautiful soul and an even more beautiful angel.
Every time I see a ray of sun, a rainbow, or feel a gust of wind I’ll know it’ll be you.
I love you so much. I always will.