Death of a best friend isn't the end of the world

Sep 19 2011 - 9:27am


I remember the morning it all happened like it was only a few hours ago.

No one calls a teacher on their classroom phone, especially not to just call a student to the office.

Regardless, I picked up my books and shuffled off to the office. My dad was waiting for me in the hall.

We got in his car and my dad broke the news to me. My best friend, my boyfriend at the time, had been killed in a car crash.

We got home and I did my best to ignore the aching fact that I knew Dad wasn't just teasing me. Over the course of the next week, months, and now 18 months, I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't have lost Wayne that one fateful day in the end of March.

To say losing him rocked my world is an understatement. He was my rock; I depended on him more than any other person.

That he was suddenly gone sent me through a torrent of emotions. I would be crying, despondent, angry, hysterical and depressed, all within one hour or less.

I had a hard time talking to anyone, especially my parents and closest friends. I stopped trying to talk to anyone. I hid in my anger, shock and sorrow. I wanted everyone to leave me alone, and I made sure the world knew that.

Everyone stopped trying, except for one of my friends. She and I shared a locker, and saw each other a lot that spring.

If it hadn't been for her and her pig-headed determination to pull me out of the walls I had encased myself with, I know I wouldn't be the person I am today. She taught me what it's like to have a true friend.

I can see now that there were many more people that cared for me and did everything they could. No matter how alone I felt, I was never truly alone; all I needed to do was look up.

Wayne was not only my boyfriend and best friend, but he was one of the best examples of everything a person should be. If there was something you were frustrated about, he had words of wisdom to help. He was kind and giving, more than willing to pay attention to and love everyone.

Even though Wayne was gone, he played a major role in taking down the walls I built up after his death.

He wasn't there to reassure me but his influence was still there like a warm hug. I reached out more, trying to draw people in the way Wayne had drawn me in with his easy love and appreciation.

Every now and again, I get a warm hug from a friend, or gentle reassurance from an unlikely source, and I can't help but imagine that Wayne is there. Wayne taught me to see how a little love can go a long way, especially when it is genuine.

One of the things that made me the most upset after he died was when people would say, "Can't you just move on?"

I hated the idea of "moving on" because that insinuated leaving Wayne behind. I couldn't leave Wayne behind, no matter what.

The more I fought the concept of "moving on," the more another concept grew in my mind. I didn't need to "move on" and leave Wayne and everything he stood for behind. What I needed to do was apply everything he taught me in everything I did. I needed to recognize that life is short and there is no reason not to love and enjoy every second of it.

If Wayne were standing next to me, he'd gently remind me that people loved me and I needed to love them back! I didn't need to "move on," I just needed to continue living and love every second, every breath, and every new friend, if for no other reason than that's what Wayne would have done.

Abby Payne is a senior at Bear River High School. When she's not singing, writing or talking a million miles an hour, you can always find her reading. E-mail her at

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