One of my childhood friends passed away on Sunday. She made a bad decision, driving when she shouldn't. Leaving a party, she was driving too quickly when she came to a corner her car couldn't navigate. Her vehicle rolled several times before coming to a stop in a grassy field. At nineteen years old, my dear friend Meghan passed away in the ICU surrounded by her family. Her B.A.C. was just at the legal limit and she was wearing a seat belt.
The following is something I wrote for Meghan. I will always consider her my sister and I hope that she knew that. I love you Meghan and I'll always miss you.
Growing up in my neighborhood was every little girl's dream. There was a raspberry patch, a park down the road, an apple tree to climbing and a neighbor with an above ground pool perfect for hot summer days. Mostly though my neighborhood was perfect because it was full of other little girls with imaginations as big as mine. We could be princess or pirates or spies; it all depended on the day. The games may have changed, but one thing never did – the fact that everything we did, we did together.
C, A, Z, G, me and Meghan. C was the tomboy, A the ever opinionated smart one, Z and G the ever present, occasionally annoying (to us big girls at least) younger sisters, and I was the protective older sister to everyone. Then there was Meghan. Meghan wasn’t just one thing; she wasn’t the girly-girl or the shy one or the leader. Meghan was the type of girl that got along with everyone in a way that was all her own. In a way, it was Meghan that held us all together with our differing personalities. She ended disputes over what game we were going to play and meticulously divided the earnings from our lemonade stands. When we diversified into snow cones, Meghan worked the hand-cranked snow cone machine and never complained.
And that was the thing about Meghan, she never really complained. She was just happy being there with all of us whether we were riding bikes or playing house or pretending to go on road tripping adventures in her parents’ caravan. Meghan was content no matter the situation and we all loved her for it.
As the years moved on, I began to see Meghan less as life’s priorities moved from Barbies and mud bakeries to boys and gossip. Suddenly, the age difference that means nothing when you’re eight seems to mean everything when you’re fourteen or eighteen or twenty-one. All of us, once so inseparable, drifted apart to focus on those differences between us that before never seemed to matter. A part of me regrets this, but there is also a part of me that is happy it happened this way.
For me, I will always retain that childhood innocence when it comes to remembering Meghan. I will remember selling bookmarks at garage sales and eating sandwiches with butter. I will remember her losing baby teeth and that originally she had an English accent that sounded ever so cute when she said the word ‘bum’. While I will constantly wish I had seen her lately or told her that I still loved her like a sister, I will always cherish those childhood days we spent together and count them among my fondest memories.
We’ll miss you Meghan, all of us little girls from Harvard Avenue. We’ll think back and wish we’d had another day or another hour or another minute. We’ll be happy we had the innumerable moments we did. Once inseparable, always inseparable, the Harvard Avenue girls will always remember.