Five years ago in August 2006, my friend was killed in a hit and run. Nothing especially dramatic happened, we did not know it was coming; she went to buy some cigarettes from the corner shop during a party, and never returned. She was hit by a car on a straight road, going far too fast, and that was it. As quick as she had been there she was gone, and no one knew. We didn’t feel the change, no one experienced a chill or a whisper past them like they do in the films, she was just gone from us, and we all felt a gape in our hearts, like life was never going to be the same again.
The day of the funeral dawned, and the skies cried for her. Alarmingly so, for an August day, but we woke to rain, and fell asleep to rain. The church was filled with mourners, gathered together with the united hope to pay a last respect and say goodbye to the girl who brought fireworks to everyday life, and was taken from us too early. People commented that there were far too many young people there; she hadn’t even made it to eighteen, and the church and grounds spilled with hundreds of umbrellas; scores of people who just wouldn’t fit in the church. They played a recording of Heidi playing Titanic on the piano, and Beautiful by James Blunt, a song that to this day makes me feel a little bit shivery as I think of all the people that may have passed her by in the street and not realised the impact that she would have had on their lives had they only just said hello.
What worries me the most is that I woke this morning and realised that this New Year was the first that had passed without her, the first that I had simply not thought to take a moment as the clock struck to remember my mental friend, the girl who made any rainy day seem sunny and brought a twinkle to even the coldest of hearts. This makes me sad, that the passing of time has eased her memory, and that tomorrow I may wake and remember slightly less of her, and eventually she will become just a fond memory, rather than an etching on my heart. In forgetting to acknowledge that she missed this year too, I may get married and forget to be aware that this will be something she will never do, or get to an age older than she will have ever been. When time starts to turn the colour of my hair, and lines form at the corner of my eyes, will I remember her in her youth, they way her white blond bleached hair fell on her face, or will i just cast my mind ever so rarely to that amazing creature who blessed my life for such a short time?
“Lord God of hosts be with us yet – Lest we forget, lest we forget” – Rudyard Kipling.