That Time My Friend Was Murdered
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That Time My Friend Was Murdered

The piece I was hoping I'd never have to write

That Time My Friend Was Murdered
Olivia's Twitter

It's 5:22pm and my lungs are tight.

I regret not writing about you, Liv.

I regret trying to pretend like you weren’t one of the biggest parts of my life, like I was indifferent to your sudden death.

I never wanted to talk about you, I never wanted to think about you, and worst of all I never wanted to write about you. Because I didn’t want to relive your death. I wanted to pretend that you weren’t ripped away from this world in such an awful, disgusting way. I wanted to be a support system for others whom you touched in your short life and I wanted to be ‘thankful’ that I got the time with you that I did.

I wanted to not be angry at God and I wanted zero sympathy from the people around me because this was all about you.

It was always about you.

Maybe I got my hopes too high. With each passing day, your good humor and happy-go-lucky attitude naively led me to believe you would be spared. That death wouldn’t unhinge its evil jaws and take you away from me. Maybe if I painted my nails orange (your favorite color) it would bring you luck. Maybe if I showed new people the way to Jesus Christ I could bribe God into letting you stay.

It was all for you. Everything was for you.

I know there was plenty of intense discussions going on behind the scenes; my dance teachers reminding me it’s all in God’s hands, my mom prepping me for the worst, my friends quietly whispering about the ugly outlook.

But I refused to give up hope. Because hope was your favorite word.

Maybe that’s why I was blindsided when they told me the news.

3 weeks to live? You only had 3 weeks before your lungs gave up and let you freakin die?

I don’t remember much about that day. I remember blindly stumbling down the hallway of my dance studio and falling to my knees on the stony tile.

I don’t remember crying, but I do remember friends patting my cheeks with tissues and trying to help me breathe. I remember my closest friend, my rock, Jasmine, quite literally holding me up against her so my legs didn’t give out again.

All I remember thinking over and over was, “But she’s 16. She’s 16. She’s 16. She's only 16?!

16 year olds don’t get cancer.

16 year olds don’t die.

God doesn’t let this evil happen.

The next 3 weeks were a blur. I was determined to keep believing and hoping for miracles because you told me to. You told me the minute hope died, then so did love, and life, and everything in between.

I kept my damn nails painted orange.

I kept talking to you about normal things, happy things. You gave me playlists of your favorite songs and I gave you empty notebooks and orange pens to write until your wrists ached. We talked about anything and everything that didn't involve that ugly disease eating you alive. We had an unspoken agreement to never bring it up unless it had to be.

And that silence was broken far too soon.

“Promise me something?” you asked me one day. “When you dance, don’t just dance, fly. Just close your eyes and that’s what flying feels like. Whenever you dance, dance because you NEED to not because you have to or want to.”

It was only a few days later that I felt it. I quite literally felt your soul leave this Earth.

Don’t ask me how I knew, because the sensation hasn’t happened since and I never want it to happen again.

One minute I was in the dance studio, watching other girls rehearse, and the next minute I was on the floor dry-heaving in the bathroom. I was cold and hot at the same time, sweat inching down my temples, as I frantically searched for my inhaler. I had no idea what was happening to me, so I ran to my dance teacher. She took me into the staff’s office so I could have some privacy, and pulled out her phone to check the time.

And that’s when we got the text.

At 6:08pm on September 15, 2015, I dropped to my knees, gasping for air and wondering why I couldn't feel my fingers.

7 minutes later, at 6:15pm… you died.

I am choosing not to share what happened after 6:15 that night, because I know you saw the ugliest side of me from up in the sky. And I never want anyone to see me like that ever again.

I had experienced grandparents, pets, and adults in my life dying, but never in a million years did I think God would allow someone so young to leave this Earth so soon. Sure, I had heard about kids dying young. But hearing those stories is a hell of a lot different than experiencing them first-hand.

After that night, I was numb. I felt like when you left, you took all my emotions with you. Sure, I cried. Sure, I still went to church. But I lost my feelings and faith when I lost you. The first thing we ever bonded over, writing? I lost the will to do that, too. I was a mess on the inside. Every meal just felt like rocks in the pit of my stomach, and with every breath I felt a cement noose of guilt weighing me down.

Why was I breathing?

Why was I perfectly healthy?

Why was it you who died and not me?

My guilt of living while your soul was torn away from your flesh gave me nightmares. I couldn’t turn to God and, for the first time in my life, I couldn’t even turn to my own pen and paper.

And that’s what I regret the most. I didn’t write for you. I shut down. I didn’t pretend like you hadn’t existed, but I sure as hell didn’t let anything or anyone remind me of you if I could help it. I politely thanked those who offered condolences. I slapped on plastic smiles when my dance teachers spoke of great events the studio would hold in your memory.

But I shut myself down to any emotion I could feel towards your death.

At the time, I didn’t even let myself say your name. I quietly wore an ‘O’ for Olivia around my neck and stupidly tried to ‘get back into the swing of things’. Before you, before our friendship, before my naive veil of faith was ripped to pieces and the reality of delicate human life knocked the wind out of me.

And you know what? I kept it up, too.

It’s been a little over a year since your death, and up until now I have succeeded in creating an unbreakable wall around you and your death in my mind. So even if one day I wanted to write about you, I wouldn’t be able to feel those excruciating, ugly emotions again.

But you know what, Liv? You finally broke my damn wall.

Here I am. In an abandoned church parking lot, watching the sky fade into your favorite color, blasting your favorite song, and finally letting myself feel this. And it sucks. I knew it was going to suck. But I also know you’ve been pushing me to do this since last year. I know you’ve been dragging me by my hair to pick up my damn pen again and write your name in big letters across the page.


Are you happy now?

I don’t really know the purpose of sharing this story with other people. I feel like this is sad and depressing and I don’t want people to run away from my writing just because it makes them feel something.


I’m the worst hypocrite, aren’t I?

I’ve literally been running away from my own writing because I didn’t want to feel this again.

I’ve been hiding from my own writing.

The irony of this situation almost makes me laugh out loud. Damn it, Liv. Even when you’re gone you’re always right.

I won’t run away from you anymore. Feeling these emotions is painful as hell and it’s tearing me apart to relive that day in my mind over and over again...but this is important. It’s even more important to get it all down on paper (or on a Dunkin Donuts napkin...the itch to write hits at the most inconvenient times, okay?)

I get it, I finally get it.

It's 8:13pm and my lungs don’t feel so tight anymore.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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