When I went to college to Eastern Kentucky University I met one of the best friends I could ever have. Her name was Shonda. She was actually from a neighboring county – I grew up in Leslie County and she grew up in Hazard in Perry County. She was studying to be a nurse and I was studying English to be…who knows what. We had a beginning English class together, and after we got to talking after class one day we discovered she lived upstairs in the same dorm as I did. From then on we were inseparable.
Shonda was there for me through some of the absolute worst times of my life, and I sincerely tried to be there for her. She was my sister. She was my best friend. She was the one person outside of my family I knew I could count on no matter what.
We went our separate ways after college, but always remained connected through letters, e-mails, and long telephone conversations. There wasn’t a day that went by where we didn’t communicate in some form or another. Chatting online was one of our favorites. The last conversation I ever had with her was on chat. It was Halloween day and she was telling me all about what outfit she had gotten her young son to wear for Halloween. Then she told me about the worst panic attack she had ever had earlier that day.
Because she was a nurse she was confident it was a panic attack and not a heart attack. She said she was tired but OK. She died that night from a massive heart attack. Although the paramedics came, they couldn’t bring her back. There are not words to say of how I felt when her husband was finally able to get hold of me. He couldn’t find her address book but knew we chatted, so he signed into chat and waited for me to log on.
I missed saying good-bye to my best friend because by the time her husband had gotten hold of me the funeral was through. In some ways I am glad because I had just recently buried my mother, my father, my cat, and my dog of 13 years. Now Shonda was gone and the feeling of being completely and utterly alone, even though The Husband was with me was over-whelming. Shonda was the one person I had leaned on for over twenty years and her loss, even today goes through me like a knife.
Even though I love her dearly, and I miss her even now, I can honestly say I would prefer to have had her in my life for the short time she was with me than not having her in my life at all. The good times far out weight the bad. Sometimes even the “bad” were of our own making, a.k.a. drinking too much on weekends during finals when we were stressed beyond breaking and neither of us had enough money to go home.