Memories of a friend

This past week I lost a very dear friend. I’m still having a rough time getting through this, but it made me realize several things about myself and a few generalized ones that I thought should be shared with others.

I’ve lost a lot of loved ones in my lifetime (just like most people do) but I’m only 21. It makes you think more.

When I was 15, my best friend Staci Reyes passed away of Leukemia. I never got to say goodbye, nor did I really grasp the situation considering my age. Yes, I was devastated, but I didn’t really learn anything.

No, not until this incidence did I sit down and really think about what I’m doing with my life. I met Obi last year in my Mass Comm Law class. He was so bubbly and happy. He would joke with me and tease me, but I never really thought much about it and we never hung out outside of class.

At the start of the summer he added me as a friend me on Facebook, and being how Obi was he immediately messaged me when I accepted it (and I do mean immediately). He was hilarious, always trying to make me laugh. We started hanging out and went on many adventures together like to Twisted Falls, which brings me to my first thought.

I love outdoor things. I go out and do as much as possible outside. I HATE just sitting on a couch watching TV for long periods of time. However, I was never as … adventurous … as Obi (and his family).
He, his brother Kevin and cousin Dustin (among others) took me with them to this place where there was a huge waterfall. Their expectation of me? To jump off of these giant cliffs. My thought? “Oh hell no.”
I am not a fan of heights if I’m not strapped into something. I didn’t want to look like the usual wimpy girl on the side just watching, though. So I hiked up to the top point (where I don’t think they were quite expecting me) and Obi stayed down at the bottom with my camera until I got to the top.
I learned a few things about myself. I was stronger than I thought.  There was this small cliff over the water and only a rope connected the two. All the boys but one were up there already, of course, except one who couldn’t pull himself up. I figured surely I couldn’t if he couldn’t. I have little upper body strength, but I did it, and I did it before that boy did, too.

After getting up there I finally jumped off this giant cliff. (It looked giant to me anyway…) It took me about thirty minutes of looking over the top in terror and uncertainty (And Dustin and Kevin yelling at me to jump already). After me, Obi was supposed to jump. For some reason (which I find amusing) he jumped off every cliff and came back later to slide down the middle of the waterfall, but couldn’t jump off the cliff I did. He got teased, but he’s the main reason I could even do it myself.

Anyway, that was just one special moment I shared with him and some of his family, but even from that one moment with him, I learned so much about myself. I’m stronger and crazier than I thought, and I can do whatever I set my mind to (even if it’s as small as jumping off a cliff and it takes me an hour).
Once school started, Obi and I somehow drifted apart. I rarely spoke to him or even saw him. We were both so busy. I found out through Facebook that he had the accident and he may pass away. I immediately started calling friends telling them to send out prayer chains with their friends.

I didn’t do one thing, though, and I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. I never went to see him while he was in the hospital. I never got to say goodbye in person. I prayed night and day and hoped for a miracle, like the rest of his loved ones, but in the end he went to be with the Lord. He will be happier, I know, but it doesn’t take the pain away.

I didn’t realize how many peoples’ lives he had touched until the candlelight ceremony last Friday night.

I couldn’t stop thinking about never saying goodbye, or when was the last time I’d even seen him. What really matters now is that I take what happened and I learn from it.

Life is too damn short. I need to stop worrying and stressing over things that frankly don’t matter. I want to make an impact on people like Obi did. I have strength I never knew I had, but I hold myself back from doing things because I don’t trust that I could even do it.

Don’t go through life wasting time. Cherish the moments you have with each other, and most importantly, never doubt yourself. You’ll do great things if you realize that you can.

In loving memory of Tait Obadiah White.

-Katie

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