A Letter To The Friend I Never Got To Say Goodbye To

A Letter To The Friend I Never Got To Say Goodbye To

I will take your memory with me wherever I go.
1707
views

Dear Justin,

I'm sorry this took so long, but I wanted to make sure I obtained the platform that both of us could be heard on before I even considered writing this. For so long you ran through my mind because I felt I never properly got to say goodbye to you, but now what better way would there be than to let everyone know how much you meant to those around you, and for anyone else feeling the same way to know that it's going to be OK.

Throughout our lives, you were always teaching me lessons on the block. Among the big kids, we always tried to fit in. We played basketball, football, man-hunt, and boxes on the Brooklyn sidewalks of Washington Avenue between DeKalb and Willoughby for years. We were the little ones of the group, as we always tried our best to fit in with those who were years older than us. Bumps, bruises, cuts, and scars on our bodies were the gifts that the block that raised us, left on our bodies as memories that we would hold dear for years to come. I know you remember just as much as I do being laughed at, and enjoying the summer days because we had nothing to worry about as kids. You were one of my best childhood friends, whether it was inside playing Xbox, or outside creating mischief, no adventure was too big for us to embark on.

July 2017 was a period that helped me grow much more than I thought it would. One of those reasons was because of your passing. I remember seeing you two days prior, and everything being well. Of course, with time we didn't talk as much as we should've, but we both knew what the deal was. Whatever you needed I was there and vice versa; it was always just good to see that youth we grew up with was alive and thriving. The news soon came and sent disbelief throughout the building we grew up in, and the hearts of those who raised us. You know it doesn't really hit you at first; one day you're making sure everything is good with each other and the next you realize that was the last time I'd see you. We got together, made a vigil, and parted ways as we tried to retain our best and most important memories with you.

These memories, these events, helped me grow in ways you may have never realized. For a while, I forgot what it was like to lose someone so close to you to senseless acts of violence, not that I wanted to remember, but it reminds you sometimes of the things you fight for on a daily basis. Prior to losing you, I lost my cousin in the same fashion. By a gun and the hand of someone who can only be defined as a coward. This reminds you that as a black male, or black individual in general, life can be very short. One thing I never expected at age twenty was to lose someone who I called my friend for pretty much my whole life. You never expect to see something like this. You expect to grow, watch each other succeed and be there at the end of the day to say "I got you, no matter what." But sadly, that isn't the reality youth like you and I get to see because of the world around us.

I watched your mom shed tears like I've never seen, and hope to never see again in my lifetime. Every time I see her, I know that there's a piece of you that she carries everywhere, and every time we speak, I know that I'm speaking to you too. If I could tell her one thing, it would be thank you. Thank you for playing a pivotal role in my childhood, and thank you for letting me grow up with your son, as all the memories we made are memories I'll cherish for years to come.

For months I continued to battle with myself on how I should remember you, and why I couldn't get over the fact that you were no longer going to be here with us. Every day I credit you for my successes and growth as a young adult. I wore your memorial shirt underneath my button-up and tie to my interview for Hunter College, and I credit a big part of my acceptance to you being with me throughout the whole process. Wherever I go I keep your "In Memory" card in my wallet, and your spirit in my heart.

During your vigil, while your mom was speaking, she talked about how she wanted the youth there to succeed and carry on a legacy that you didn't get to. Out of emotion, I yelled and said that we would, and we would carry you in our hearts and on our backs. It was that promise that I will never forget, and it's that promise that I will hold true in every walk of life that I embark on. For you, I will continue my fight against gun violence, continue to fight for the empowerment of Black youth, and continue to become the social worker/psychologist I know I can be. You are my inspiration because you help set the blueprints for my life.

The 1000+ words in this article only capture a glimpse of the adventures and tales we would leave behind in our journey to adulthood. For anyone who reads this, I want this article to be immortalized so all know not only how much you meant to those around you, but so they also know that it's OK to mourn. Everyone is different, and losing a friend is hard, therefore no one should judge how one deals with the loss of a friend. Let your story be a message to those who need it. Remember to put down the weapons, and enjoy the moments you'll always remember with your loved ones.

Justin, I love you, and I will take your memory with me wherever I go.

Cover Image Credit: Kory Longsworth

Popular Right Now

Acts 1:8 Ministry Explains How To Teach Your Child To Be Charitable And Compassionate

Acts 1:8 Ministry, a non-profit organization based out of Wisconsin, believes in building strong community foundations with integrity and humility.

6774
views

There have been many natural disasters that have wreaked havoc in the United States and around the world such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Over the last few decades, the generosity of Americans has become well-known, and it's vital to inspire this charitable and compassionate concern for others down to future generations.

Acts 1:8 Ministry has helped enrich the lives of others around the globe through the support of generous donors and volunteers who want to help spread kindness, strengthen their faith, grow the Christian church, and improve communities. To pay it forward, Acts 1:8 Ministry explains below how parents can instill charitable and compassionate qualities in their children through word, action and leading by example.

Start At Home

If you have more than one child, you know there are those times they don't want to share toys, snacks, or even friends. Teaching siblings to share is less complicated when you teach your children why the love for each other is so important. In a family unit, each member depends on all the others. Parents provide shelter, food, clothing, and different needs. Children contribute by helping with chores, obeying house rules, and doing their homework. Mutual love and respect are what strengthens the family unit. Working and giving together teaches invaluable lessons to children and builds a secure family unit.

Working Together For Others

Donating time at a food pantry, shelter, or meal distribution center for low-income families or homeless folks in your local area teaches your children the importance of caring for those who are less fortunate. Explain why it is wrong to judge people who need free services to survive. Your children may encounter people who are dirty and wearing smelly clothes, and they need to know not to say anything that would hurt their feelings or embarrass them.

Giving Together For Others

If your state has a beverage deposit on soda, juice, and alcoholic beverages, you and your children can collect discarded cans and bottles. The money you receive from their redemption can be donated to a variety of charitable causes including animal shelters, food banks, clothing distribution centers, or a local charity you support. There is always a need for cash at all of these facilities. Plan annual family fundraisers, such as yard, craft, bake, and plant sales. Donate the money earned to one or more charitable projects the family chooses together.

Establish Charitable Habits

Establish habits and family routines to encourage charitable acts. Choose things that fit your family's lifestyle. Keep a large "charity" jar and place a dollar amount in it every time the family does something special such as going to the movies, spending a day at a water park, eating out, or taking a vacation. Whenever the family spends money on a fun adventure or outing, setting a little money aside to be used for those who don't have the same opportunities helps children understand the need for caring about other people. Other things you can do as a family include:

• Reduce the amount of clothing in your closets, and donate clean and undamaged items to a charity that distributes clothing to low-income families.

• Clean out the toys. Donate unbroken toys and games to homeless shelters that take in families or to a home for battered women and their children.

• Donate your time to visit a nursing home, and talk to different residents. Encourage your children to ask the older folks to tell stories about their childhood.

• Bake cookies or bread together and distribute to older people that live in your neighborhood. Have your children make a card to give with the food gift.

• Help a neighbor who has been sick with yard work, taking out the trash, or other chores he or she is not able to do.

Children love making others happy and will continue to feel the same way as adults if you help them establish the habits of caring, sympathy, helping, and compassion when they are young. By teaching children the core values of caring and compassion, future generations of Americans will continue to be the world's most generous and compassionate people.

About Acts 1:8 Ministry:

Acts 1:8 Ministry is a non-profit organization that equips Christians to care, share and connect people to Christ through Christian kindness. The Planned Acts of Christian Kindness® Program has touched thousands of lives in the US and over 100 countries worldwide. Through the Water Project, over 130 water wells drilled, blessing hundreds of thousands of lives with clean water.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To My Long-Distance Best Friend, We Might Be 7,811 Miles Apart, But Our Friendship Only Gets Stronger

It breaks my heart that I cannot be around for your birthdays or to celebrate your achievements. But I'm so proud of every milestone you achieve. I am so proud of all your accomplishments and the person you are becoming.

91
views

To my best friend,

It has been 270 days since I last met you and 206 more days until I meet you again. People say that time flies by quickly, but these have been the most difficult days that seemed to drag on forever. Five years ago when you were sitting next to me on the first day of our sociology class, I had no idea we would end up being best friends. From sharing my mother's parathas during lunch breaks to the countless sleepovers, I will never forget all the memories we created throughout high school.

I vividly remember the day I told you I would be studying abroad. You were so happy and proud of me for pursuing my dreams but also upset that we wouldn't be seeing each other every now and then. I was worried if our friendship would even last. But we have spent almost two years away from each other and our friendship only seems to get stronger.

I'm so grateful to technology for allowing us to be in touch all the time. My day doesn't feel complete if I do not receive a text from you. I know we do not video call often because of how busy our schedules are (another reason being time zones suck and I cannot do the math), but always know that I am there for you. It breaks my heart that I cannot be around for your birthdays or to celebrate your achievements. But I'm so proud of every milestone you achieve. I am so proud of all your accomplishments and the person you are becoming.

We have both had some terrible friendship experiences in our past before we met each other that have completely broken our faith in friendships. But know that you can always count on me and that I will never leave your side. Know that I will always set an alarm early in the morning just to video call you. Know that I will always be there for you (even if I'm not physically present around you). Know that you will always be the first person I share everything with.

I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me. Thank you for encouraging me to make new friends at college. Thank you for always being there during my failures and reminding me that it's not the end of the world and that more opportunities will come my way. Thank you for being there during my successes and being my number one cheerleader. Thank you for always reminding me to love myself. You not only have a special place in my heart but also have a special place in my family. My mother and sister are not only glad that I have a best friend like you but also adore you so much. It is impossible to imagine a life without you.

I cannot wait for more butter chicken sleepover dates in December!

Lots of love,

Your best friend.

Related Content

Facebook Comments