Travel back with me a year or two or three or four to the beginning of my 7th grade year. I grew up in a small elementary school bubble where I knew each and every kid in the entire school. I knew in kindergarten who my 5th grade teacher would be and I even know which classroom I would have. I went from there to a school with thousands of kids, most of whom I would never learn their names. We had teachers come and go in the middle of the year and I had my first experience of changing classes on a large scale basis. I was very much a fish out of water. And then came Kim.
I don’t remember exactly when Kim and I met, it just seemed she was always there. She was bright, bubbly and cute and made the two classes we had together much more bearable. I had never skipped class before but with Kim it just seemed so natural. She opened me up to take chances and actually have some fun. I don’t want to make her seem like some sort of bad kid, Kim’s parents kept a close watch on her. She was just comfortable taking chances.
When Kim told me that her family was moving to another state I was devastated. She was the first “best friend” that I had ever had and the thought of losing her was just too much. We swore we would write and keep in touch but as tends to happen in these situations, we did not and quickly lost touch. I think we talked once a few years later but until the advent of Facebook, there was nothing.
Over the last few years, we spoke a few times, mainly commiserating about both of us having lost our mothers and were struggling to deal with our grief. I wanted to speak to her more, always intending to, after all tomorrow is always another day. Well as it turns out, there isn’t always another tomorrow.
A few days ago there was an announcement that Kim was having some health issues. Another announcement came midday yesterday saying that life support would be removed but Kim just could not wait and passed earlier in the day.
I have thought of her so much over the last few days. I have thought of the woman who has grieved so much and experienced so much loss. I have thought about that young girl so sat by me in math and Latin class and how little work we actually did. That girl who taught me to take changes and not to worry so much about what other people thought. But mostly I have thought about my friend. The friend who I will not see again this side of Heaven. The friend that I regret not connecting with more. The friend that I regret not telling what she meant to me. I guess those are regrets that I will have to live with. Too late to fix things now.