A Letter To My First Best Friends

A Letter To My First Best Friends

I'm so grateful to have you.

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I met my first best friends when I was too young to remember.

When I was two years old, my great-grandma recommended a small, old, Irish-themed resort in the Catskills Mountains in upstate New York. My parents took my sister and I up for one week in August (Kids Rule Week), and, when we arrived, we saw this rundown playground with one swing set and a playhouse. While my parents were apprehensive about our stay, my sister and I couldn't be more thrilled- there was a PLAYGROUND for crying out loud! We jumped out of the car and ran to the playground, happy to spend the next five days on the swing sets that seemed to be ready to break any minute.

Throughout the years of our weeks at Gavin's, I found myself a group of friends that I would eventually come to view as sisters. Their names are Ciara, Kaylee, Bridget, and Anna, and I hold each one of them as near to my heart as I can.

Each of their families has made me feel like I am one of their own flesh and blood, and my family treats them all with a similar courtesy. Their families make sure to include me in everything, whether it's visiting Howe Caverns for my first time, spending the whole day at Zoom Flume, even including me in all their family pictures. Every year we go-kart, we go to water parks, we sing karaoke, and we just enjoy each other's company.

We would spend so much money at the go-kart track every year. This place was also very rundown, with no helmets and race cars that had to be tuned up after every race and never ran the same speed, but it gave us such an adrenaline rush like no other. Ciara, the youngest of our friend group, would drive her cart like a madman, and we were all terrified for the day she was able to be on the road.

She got her license in January, and driving with her is so funny to me because all I can picture is the crazy little redhead knocking everyone into the side of the track.

Bridget is an amazing dancer with so much dedication to her sport. She just graduated high school and is starting college this fall.

Anna is graduating from college in the coming spring as a teacher, and she already has her own classroom of young students that absolutely adore her!

Ciara just won class president for her senior class and will be giving a speech at graduation. She is absolutely brilliant and was even featured in 17 Magazine for her organization of a school walkout back in March.

Kaylee was class president throughout high school and is so dedicated to everything she puts her time into. She is absolutely one of the friendliest, most caring people I've ever met.

Bridget and Kaylee are even going to school together now- how I WISH I could spend time with them there!

We have grown up together as a family- we have laughed together, we have cried together, we have pulled all-nighters together, we have stayed up until 3 am talking about our fears for the future and for our education. I know that I can go to them with anything and trust them with knowing the deepest, most vulnerable parts of me.

I yearned for the summers because that meant I was that much closer to Gavin's and that much closer to seeing my best friends. Until we were older, we only saw each other once a year for five days. Other than that, we would email back and forth, making sure to use the brightest and craziest fonts we had available to us. As we grew up, we were able to drive back and forth to each other- we lived within an hour of each other, but it seemed so much further when we were little.

Every year that I have been able to go to Gavin's has been better than the last, and that's because of my girls.

Once I moved, these visits became minimal yet again, but even more cherished than before.

I haven't been to Gavin's since I moved to Florida, but I think about the next time I can go back every day. I hope one day I can give my kids the same amazing experience I was able to get from going to Gavin's.

I write this to thank them for being the most fantastic people I have ever met; all of you have such courage, such vibrancy, such brilliance inside each and every one of you, and I am so grateful to have been a part of all of your journeys for so long. You each have done so much for me in your own ways, and just thinking about the next time we can all be together again brings joy to my heart.

Things now are so different than they were when we were young- we have all experienced hardships since the days of us running around the playgrounds and having bonfires in the fields. We are all on the brink of adulthood, but our memories at Gavin's will never change and will keep us bonded forever.

I love you all with everything in me and am so glad to have such a wonderful and supportive group of sisters.

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Losing A Grandparent Changed My Life

Live for them, and give them a legacy to be proud of.
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Death isn’t what the average 20-something thinks about every day. You don’t think it will happen to you, or the people around you. You know that it exists because you see heart-wrenching reports on the news daily of another life lost to ignorance or hate.

Yes, losing a grandparent definitely changes your life. For some of us, it's a drastic change. To others: they knew it was coming. Still, some weren't even close to their grandparents because they lived too far away from each other to build a relationship in person.

I can't even fathom that considering both of my grandparents lived a city away from me or across town. They are your second set of parents and the love you've had for your entire life. They are the lessons learned and the ones holding your hand through it all.

When my grandfather died (affectionately known to me as Papa), my life changed. I watched him take his last breath in the hospital alone. I called my mother to tell her that her father died. In that moment: my emotionally sheltered life was torn apart. In that moment: I had to grow up. The person I had leaned on my entire life was gone.

I literally reconsidered everything I had done in my life in a matter of hours. I thought about college, finally graduating and walking across that stage: cords swinging and my tassel hanging there. That was his biggest dream for me, we were only a year away from it when he left this earth.

When a grandparent passes they take a part of you: big or small. When you were younger you planned out life with them. You shared your dreams with them, your insecurities, your childish ways and most of all you shared your love.

They, in turn, taught you lessons about life, helped you realize those dreams, and never let you go without being told you were loved every single time they saw you. They are the suppliers of happiness, security, and laughs. Friends come and go, but your family stays with you forever.

The bottom line is: most everyone knows what it's like to lose a grandparent. We all cope differently, and leaning on others is the best way to keep yourself up. Facing the reality of death is the only way we can accept it and move on. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting, it means understanding. We were lucky enough to have these amazing people to guide us through our younger years, teaching us these vital lessons.

I can't tell you how many times a day I wish I had my papa back. Learning to cope without them is the hardest part, even years later. Grandparents prepare you for life's greatest gains. Little did they know they would be their grandchildren's biggest loss. Live for them, and give them a legacy to be proud of.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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5 Times Your Depression Is Likely To Make You A Terrible Roommate

Mental health is the biggest factor sometimes into one's actions. Watching this happen to someone you love or even yourself can be depressing.

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Over the past few months, I've noticed that depression really sucks. Of course, everyone knows that. I didn't really realize that having serious depression would affect the people around me until my roommates and some friends started getting frustrated by my actions. Once I was confronted, I started seeing everything that I was doing, and it's truly awful and if I were in my roommate's shoes, I would be irritated as well.

1. When you stop acknowledging their presence

Whenever my roommates would come home, I don't even notice. I don't say hi and I don't even talk when they talk to me. I focus on what I'm doing. My energy is too gone to make idle conversation.

2. When you stop cleaning up after yourself

I leave my shoes everywhere, that's my big mess. I have a million shoes and I leave them everywhere. I don't pick up after my dog when she leaves her toys everywhere. My dirty dishes pile up where I leave them. The list goes on.

3. You don't take care of your own room

This is one of the biggest tells in depression. I'm not usually very messy. I'm messy but I always clean up after myself. Now, it takes me weeks to even attempt to straighten up my room. It also ends up getting dirtier within a few hours because I'm careless with my things.

4. You don't take care of yourself and it shows

Making myself look decent has never been one of my favorite things but wearing the same clothing day after day can become a little strange and questionable. Just as well as not brushing my hair or styling it (which I love to do).

5. You avoid any sort of 'hang out' with them.

I've avoided and decline any kind of hang out with them or go to a function with them there. I don't like the social interaction and I know that I'm not feeling up to it, so I just avoid it altogether.

There are so many other things that depression affects when it comes to being a roommate. However, some of those things are too personal. If you have a roommate that is going through some similar symptoms, be careful. Addressing it is hard, talking to them about it is hard, and if not brought up carefully, it can lead the roommate into a further depression. I'm grateful that it was brought to my attention, but I also know that I didn't want to leave my room for weeks. I hated myself even more and the thought that other people noticed the bad habits I had taken up, I thought they hated me too.

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