On June 3, 2012, my life changed forever. My best friend, Lexi, was in a fatal car accident, and I was in the car with her. We were in the vehicle with four other people when this horrible incident occurred, and I was the only survivor. Our car went airborne over a set of railroad tracks, slammed into a tree, and landed on its roof in the middle of the road. Three of my friends, including Lexi, died on impact, one was Life Flighted to the hospital and passed shortly after, and I miraculously walked to the ambulance after being taken out of the car by the Jaws of Life. The most difficult part of this day was losing my best friend. Lexi was one of the rare people whose personality synced perfectly with mine. She was my best friend because we got along so well, and losing her was the most difficult thing that I have ever been through. Nothing could prepare me for the moment I heard she was gone, her funeral, the numb months following her passing, the breakdown of realizing she would never come back, and eventually accepting her passing.
I was in the hospital when I first heard that Lexi was killed. I would have never expected to hear that Lexi was killed in a car accident. Especially when I had just been laughing with her a few hours ago. When the words came out of my mother’s mouth, they hit me like a brick wall. I felt my throat close, my eyes swell with tears, my hands clench into fists, and then, nothing. It was like my brain shut off. My hands unclenched and the tears in my eyes subsided. I built a barrier between my thoughts and my emotions in order to protect myself, and I kept that barrier up for a very long time. Thinking back, it may have been the best thing to do so that I could heal physically, but it was not the best thing to do for my mental healing. This barrier caused me to be stuck in an emotionless rut regarding Lexi’s death.
I expected her funeral to be the hardest struggle of her passing. At first, I was strong during her funeral because I had my friends and family supporting me, holding my hand, and hugging me. Then, music began to play, and I watched as her family carried her casket down the aisle. Her mother and father were hugging each other and sobbing uncontrollably; meanwhile, her grandmother and grandfather sat in the pew with tears streaming down their faces. Seeing this hit me hard because it was not the way that the world was supposed to work. It was not right for a mother, father, and grandparents to be laying their daughter and granddaughter to rest. My eyes filled with tears, but then the barrier I formed came up and stopped me from crying. This made me feel numb, and in the following summer months, the numbness continued.
As the summer came to a close, only one thing was on my mind—going through my senior year of high school without Lexi. It was hard to grasp the concept of going to football games, prom, and graduation without her. I did not know whom I would go to for advice on a prom dress and boys, because Lexi was always the best at helping me with those kinds of issues. Often, I found myself grabbing my cell phone to text her about a problem or big news in my life, but then I would realize that she was not on the other end of the phone to text back. When this would happen, my heart would sink to my stomach. Even after two months of Lexi being gone, the wounds of her passing were still so fresh. I wondered if the wounds would ever go away, and if it would ever fully hit me that she would not be back.
I occasionally went to Lexi’s grave to talk to her and tell her all of the new things going on in my life. Sitting by her grave talking was always such a peaceful period of time. It was as close as I could get to having a conversation with her because I felt like she was actually there listening to me. Almost a year after the accident, I went to her grave and I saw something that I did not expect—a headstone. Normally, when people visit graves, there are headstones with the name and date of the person that passed. However, up until this point Lexi did not have a headstone because her passing was so unexpected. As I walked up, I stared at her headstone in disbelief, and that is when it all hit me. I fell to the ground in tears. I looked at her name and ran my fingers across the date, “August 2, 1995 – June 3, 2012.” It finally hit me that her life was over. I was not going to go over her house like I used to, call her when I needed help, or most importantly, laugh with her. This was the worst moment of my life, but it was what I needed in order to accept her passing and move on.
In August of 2013, I finally came to terms with Lexi’s passing. After many months of being numb regarding her death, I finally had the breakdown that I needed in order to accept her passing. I realized that even though she was not physically here, she was watching me from above. I would occasionally get signs from her, which was uplifting. Those little signs reassured me that she was still with me. I knew that she would not want me to be sad all the time because she was gone, so I decided to look at the positive. I now had a guardian angel that I knew would protect me. Also, I knew that one day I would be able to see her again. She had made such an impact on the lives’ of so many people, and that is why it was her time to go. She had accomplished what she needed to on this world. If I continued to sulk around about her death, then I would not be able to accomplish whatever I was meant to do. There had to be a reason that I was still here, otherwise, God would have taken me with her.
Losing Lexi definitely changed me as a person. It made me more grateful to be alive. I realized that everyone only has a limited amount of time on this world, and you never know when it is going to expire. Also, Lexi’s passing made me aware that I should not take my loved ones for granted because they are not always going to be around. People tend to take advantage of their family and friends because they think that they will always be there for them. Now, I always make sure to say “I love you,” to my family before I go anywhere, and I never like to leave things on a bad note. I mended all of my burned bridges with people because life is too short to be anything but happy. Also, dealing with the grief of losing Lexi made me a much stronger person. It does not matter how bad it seems; being in pain over the loss of someone does not last forever. Grief is just the period of time that it takes a person’s brain to accept the fact that someone is gone, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.