...Everything can change.
My last blog was about dancing like no one is watching... it kind of goes along with "Carpe-Diem, seize the day" and "live each day as if it was your last" and all of those cliches that are so so true.
My mom is a pre-school teacher, and when I was young, I used to spend a lot of time hanging around her classroom. It was there that I met my childhood best friend, Jacob. His mom worked at the pre-school too. I don't remember meeting him, but most of my childhood memories include him. People used to think we were twins... and we kind of liked that. We spent lots of time together... going to the fair, hanging out at each other's houses... and even playing sports together.
Jacob had another best friend, named Ethan. Subsequently, Ethan and I got to be very good friends during my childhood. Going through elementary school, there were multiple years in which one of our parents had to go in and have us switched to a different class because we were not in the same class. I loved these boys. In first grade, we met another friend, Justine. I wasn't the outnumbered girl anymore! When I think back on my childhood, these 4 are the ones that stand out.
When I moved away after my freshman year of high school, we kind of lost touch. It was sad but the distance was so far, and we just drifted apart. Then came myspace. And facebook. And twitter. And AIM. And suddenly I was able to reconnect with friends from the past. First Justine, then Jacob, and finally, Ethan. They were all my facebook friends. But even still, we didn't talk much.
Until one day an instant message popped up on my computer from "aintcheesegr8er" and I thought, "Well I like cheese" so I accepted it. And in a moment... Ethan and I had reconnected. We didn't talk all the time, but I would get an occasional IM throughout the day from him (he was working doing something that I don't understand with lasers and spent a lot of time in the office)... and they would come straight to my phone. We caught up on life and love and everything in between.
Then one day, I got an IM that said something like, "Hey want to go to China with me?" He had decided to take a trip with some friends to China and invited me to go along. I thought it sounded like fun, but I just wasn't at a place I could go. So I told him I couldn't make it but I couldn't wait to hear about it when he got back.
Last week, I was about to get on the freeway in my jeep when my cell phone rang. I noticed the number was an Oregon area code so I answered it (yes illegally... sorry dad). It was my friend Justine. I asked if I could call her back when I got where I was going. I was stoked to hear from her... but as I drove, it hit me.... something is wrong. I immediately started thinking through every possibility and I couldn't fathom what it could be. I quickly exited, parked and called her back.
"I have some bad news" She said.
"Ok... what's going on?" Bracing myself for the worst... and yet, having NO idea what was coming. I couldn't have even imagined...
"Ethan was killed yesterday in China."
The words echoed through my head...
WHAT??? How could this be? I'd just spoken to him days before.
He'd invited me to go!
This couldn't be happening.
I didn't know what to say.
"Oh my gosh." Over and over again... that is all that could make it through my lips.
We hung up the phone and about 5 minutes later I burst into tears.
The uncontrollable kind that make your whole body shake. This hit me hard. I didn't know what to think or say... I didn't know how this could possibly be happening. But it was.
It's been several days since I got the news and I still don't know what to think or say. I still get a little choked up thinking about it. There are so many things that I never said to Ethan that I wish I had been able to say. I always thought I'd have tomorrow. I always thought it could wait. And suddenly... I no longer have tomorrow.
When I was a kid... I went through a phase where no matter where I was, I would always make sure "I love you" was the last thing to leave my mouth before I walked away from my mom and dad. I wanted to make sure that those were my last words if something happened. I wanted to make my words count. As I sat there holding my cell phone, I realized that I hadn't made my words count with Ethan. I'd missed so many opportunities.
Live like today is your last day. Love the people you love without holding back... and make sure they know it! Laugh and cry and feel and think with your whole heart and soul. Don't wait until tomorrow... make TODAY count... because you really never know when tomorrow will not come.
Ethan... you will truly be missed. You impacted my life and changed who I am. You are so much a part of my young years and even this past year. Thank you for being a true testament to living like today is your last day. I am certain that the people in your life knew you loved them. I just hope that you knew how much we loved you!