I walked from the table to the dry-erase board practicing concepts and names for a standard Business Management Quiz. In typical fashion, I checked my phone during break time — no texts from anyone, minimal activity on Facebook. I had a Windows phone, which meant no Snapchat, sadly. One more pass for practicing my concepts and my phone goes off. Writing this now, my memory fades me. Intuition says it was Frank. He is unsure if it was, but I received a text message informing me that my best friend's father passed away.

Sitting down, I take a deep breath. I look directly into the carpet on the ground. A ringing noise lingers in the background. Not a single thought comes to my head except for one; go back to your room. I pack books into my bag, make way down the infamous spiral staircase and walk at the fastest speed I could ever remember (which says a lot, I walk very fast). Managing to take a glance to the right, I spot another best friend of mine at a study table – we connect eyes, and I dart out the entrance doors.

Each breath gets heavier with each step. I want to make it back to my room – it is the primary mission. Getting back, I did not even knock on the door. I simply walked right in and sat on my bed. I received a text from that other friend at the library, asking if I am okay. I inform him of the news. This is all I can recall from that evening.

Losing one's parents is an emotional and devastating experience in life. Death itself is an emotional and devastating experience. It can also be a relief of suffering, pain, and struggle. My best friend showed zero signs of weakness the next day of the wake. My father came to get me at school, to drive me home in time for the services. When I saw my best friend for the first time – since that text message I received, we hugged.

However, this hug had a bit more to it. It was the hug, which revealed his hurt. My best friend, the lion of all, lost his father to a battle with cancer. Words would not suffice, but the hug, a mere sign of friendship, brotherhood, and family would be holding strong.

My best friend learned two crucial traits (of many others) from his father: strength and humility. Being his friend, I think I have learned a lot in those categories as well. The world is a better place because of people like them, their family. It is an honor to not only know them but to be family with them. This month, this week, January 17, 2012, lives forever. Long live the great, number eight.