Writing has always been my safe place. It makes me calm down, it helps me to be more in peace with myself. I used to write about everything and nothing. Not in a million years I thought I would be putting this on paper. My best friend died. This is not a drill, nor a fictional story. It happened, she died. She died three years ago, and, until now, I had never written about her. She was young, she didn’t deserve anything that came her way. Not that I am denying it, I have long passed that phase. But putting the words down, one by one, somehow makes it real – or more real. Nobody teaches you how to deal with loss. Some try, but one person’s experience has nothing to do with anyone else’s. It’s one of those situations where it’s very difficult to walk a mile in each other’s shoes. I can’t teach but I can tell you what I’ve learned. Perhaps there is a difference.

Let me go back to the beginning. Four years ago – and I can’t believe it has been this long – my best friend in the whole world was diagnosed with cancer. She was the most marvellous, happy girl. The type of human being with this light attached that always seemed to radiate around her.  She would make you laugh without effort, she cared and was very kind, she was easy. Being with her was one of the best parts of my day. The plan between us was simple: we were going – we still are – to be friends forever. We would be there every step of the way until we were cranky old ladies. So, you can understand that discovering she was sick was indescribably painful. She fought the bastard for as long and as hard as she could, but succumbed nonetheless December 6th, 2013. That was definitely one of the worst days in my whole life. I was delusional, erratic and in denial. I couldn’t accept the injustice upon me. Why her, of all people? I know everyone going through the same as I did thinks that way. Why does it have to be the people we love the most? The one’s we’ll miss the most.

Today, I hang on to memories of her so firmly since it is all I have left. I live in fear of forgetting the way her voice sounded. It is slipping away gradually, in spite of my effort to grasp it. Before she relapsed, my friends and I took her to Rome. She had never been on a plane before so it was kind of a silent bucket list we all had for her. I remember spending the whole trip feeling grateful for her survival. It was clear to me, at that moment, that I would not survive her death. But then she got sick again. I have already told you she was very happy – even when the sun was definitely not shinning her way – and she had this amazing, contagious laugh. I appreciated every giggle, chuckle and grin she had that last year. It would engrave them in my mind, so I would never forget it, yet it is gradually slipping away. I survived losing her, but barely. She never saw me graduating. She will never know if I’ve got my dream job. She will never know the love of my life. She will never be a bridesmaid at my wedding. She will never be a godmother to my child. She will never again hold me as I cry. She is gone.

I consider myself a happy person. I was happy before her and I am happy now. The difference is I now live with this little hole inside of me. A black, silent, sad wound in my heart that I know will never heal. It’s a soft inner sadness that I often beg to be more awake. I feel like I owe it to her to miss her that much, to think of her every day, to never forget her voice or the way she laughed. Or else she’ll die in me.  This was not going to be a sad story. And it is not. I am here to tell you that you can live with loss. I cannot tell you why, or how many days will pass until you feel better. I kind of never felt. The suffering just got a little numb, it is a small, persistent sadness. The kind of sadness that isn’t screaming any more. Maybe one day it’ll fall asleep entirely. Maybe it won’t. Both of us shared an undying love for this band called Radiohead – she was already sick the first time we went to a concert. There is a song called Lotus Flower that says There’s an empty space inside my heart| Where the weeds take root. It is there. And that is okay for me now.