The worst day was something that happened relatively early on in my life. It was a beautiful 9 years filled with little stress and many carefree childhood activities. I met my best friend at our babysitter’s house when I was 3 and she was 2. Sarah was adopted from China and was unfamiliar with life in America when she first arrived. I was on outgoing toddler not afraid to introduce myself to the only other child at my babysitter’s house that year. “Hi I’m Rachel, we should be friends.” was all it took and then after sharing toys, Sarah and I became best friends.
Unfortunately, I went to preschool a year earlier than Sarah. For elementary school, we both went to different schools. Our moms knew how close our bond was and we took gymnastics, dance, and theatre lessons together. Throughout the years, Sarah was still my best friend. We made our school friends but we were sisters. Our bond consisted of tree climbing, singing, and letting our imaginations run wild. It was such an inseparable due to the innocence, freedom, and how drama free it was.
Sarah was a free spirit who was a healthy reminder of what childhood meant. Childhood meant not being burdened by the problems that plagued our parents. It meant watching Dragon Tales together and singing and dancing along to every episode. It meant being creative as we played with our favorite dolls. One seemingly normal morning, this childhood was abruptly ended. It was 9:30 on a school day and both of my working parents were home. I was 9 years old and was confused by the odd turn of events but my parents were holding themselves together. Easing me gradually into the situation, my parents sat me down on the couch and told me that my best friend had died.
My first reaction to the news was that they were lying. How else would that explain a healthy 8 year old girl being stripped away of her life? Sarah had strep throat, a seemingly normal sickness for any child to get but this particular case went to Sarah’s blood stream and killed her.
Sarah was the reason I got into theatre. She was more outgoing and expressive than I was. I was hesitant to get involved into a theatre camp but I mostly just wanted to spend time with Sarah. I ended up getting a lead in our community theatre production. Sarah hadn’t auditioned for any community plays yet but she was more excited about my role than I was. It was tech week the day she died. The day of her funeral was a press event for the play.
I didn’t know what to do when I saw my best friend looking peaceful in a coffin at her visitation. Her mother pulled me aside and told me not to remember Sarah as she was right now. Her mom wanted me to remember her as my best friend. The one who played, swam, and loved the everyday mundane situations in life.
It will be ten years this November since Sarah has been gone. The grief I feel for the life she didn’t get the opportunity to live is still there. The only difference between these 9 and a half years is that I’ve learned to live my life. I still miss her and what it meant to have a completely innocent and playful friendship. However, I know that when I reflect on my childhood Sarah will be the fondest memory of all. Any basic activity I enjoyed at the time was amplified by having this lively girl by my side.
This was the worst day of my life. Yes, there have been many and will be many more that are just as unbearable. This day in particular was the training ground and prepared me for how random and unexpected life can be. I learned that we can’t take anything for granted. I have no clue why Sarah had to die yet I lived. I also know that thinking too deeply about these things is useless. I’ve been given this life and I know that Sarah would want me to live it. It’s the least I can do for the brown eyed girl with the shiny and sleek black hair that changed my life.