"See You Again"


Thirteen years is a very long time to miss your best friend. And I do. Every day. April 29th was the thirteenth anniversary of my best friends passing. Every year for that week or weeks before and after I’m a mess, I just get into a funk and I can’t get out of it. It’s like the loss of a sibling, it devastates my heart.

Our friendship started in 1990. We had the same class, the same after school program and lived in the same neighborhood, one street apart. Chris was an amazing human. Even being so young when we met, somehow I knew we’d be family. Over the course of our elementary school years our friendship grew. We had several of the same classes together and our school was small enough that the teachers often joined classes together for projects making us partners in crime a lot of the time.

In middle school when he went towards the sports and I found theater and art our friendship remained strong. We often gave our Spanish teacher anxiety with our constant passing notes in the back of the class. We were never romantic in anyway but almost that sense of brother and sister that were from different sets of parents. Chris excelled in sports and I found my place in the “inner circle” of popularity that would transfer us into high school.

My parents had divorced when I was much younger but Chris’s parents split when we were moving from middle to high school. It was hard on him. I knew that. The joint custody, back and forth from house to house and his dad’s anger over the end of his marriage was a lot for Chris to take. Unfortunately, Chris’s home that should have been a shelter became a hell. His dad became abusive. Chris found a release of that anger in sports. In 1998 when we became freshman he made the football and track teams. I was fairly popular but Chris was more than popular enough for the both of us. Still, our friendship remained strong like that of siblings.

In the beginning of 2001 I noticed a change in my friend. He became more recluse, shy, quiet even timid. One day his mom asked me if I could come with them to a doctor appointment and of course I curiously obliged. When I realized we were in an Oncology office I knew it wasn’t going to be an in and out kind of appointment. Chris had been sick for some time and was diagnosed with Leukemia. He had time on his hands and he was young and healthy in other ways but still, my best friend was sick and fighting a fight he might not win. He continued with his sports as long as he could but when he got sick enough that he had to quit his dad got worse in his abuse. Chris was missing a lot of school due to his sickness and his dad which got him suspended for unexcused absences. My friend was in a very dark place. I did my best to be there but my best wasn’t good enough.

The week of Chris’s birthday in 2002 he seemed in better spirits but couldn’t drive due to his medications so I was picking him up and taking him to school. I showed up at his house like I had for a week on his birthday with balloons, candy and card in hand. I was just looking forward to celebrating another year with my friend. I’d take all the years I could celebrating with him. When he didn’t answer the door bell, I called his house, when he didn’t answer there I walked around the side of the house to try to go in through the garage. The garage door was open, his car was there and his car was on. How had I not noticed that? As I walked around the front of my car to the back of his I saw my friend. Laying on his back, under his car. He didn’t move when I called to him. He didn’t flinch when I touched him. My friend had taken his life into his own hands in the most literal sense.

On April 29th after 19 years of life my friend killed himself. The weight of his cancer, his father and his life had become too much for him. He was tired of being tired, angry at being angry and sad of being sad, or so the note he left said. The moments following the realization of what happened are a complete and utter blur of tears, screams and searching for help. I did what I could to try and help my friend but time had passed both of us by. The sadness of calling his mother, the desperation in my voice as I told the guidance counselors and principal what had happened were devastating. On my way home I collapsed in the hallway of school, the bell rang and the few friends who were in a nearby classroom found me.

Over the coming weeks our school was saddened. Chris’s locker turned into a shrine of pictures and flowers, an assembly of students wearing orange (his favorite color) for a service. We felt an outpouring of love from classmates and his family but nothing could fill the gaping hole inside my heart. Every time someone told me something I went to my phone to call my friend, only to realize he wouldn’t be on the other end.

To this day I still carry that phone number in every phone I’ve ever had. I don’t know that there hasn’t been a moment, life event or story that I’ve wanted to tell him so badly that I haven’t picked up my phone to call that number. This year his anniversary was stronger than ever in my sadness. I miss my friend. I hate that he will never know my husband (whom he would have loved) or my children. I’m sad I won’t ever see him go through those moments of becoming a husband and father himself. But most of all I just miss his friendship. My husband is probably the closest I’ve ever come to feeling the friendship I felt with Chris. I take solace that in some way I will be celebrating with my friend again and that he is hopefully in no pain and living in a happy grace, wherever that may be. The song posted above was for the death of Paul Walker but its words hit me on April 29th as I mourned my friend and I’ve had it on repeat when I’m having a sad moment.

There was no point to this post other than to share a sad story and a beautiful song. Love those that are with you constantly, don’t hesitate if you think something is wrong. Intervene, ask questions and let them know how unconditionally loved they are every minute of every day, because one day you might not be able to say it.

Christopher J. Corrado, “you are so dearly missed my friend”, April 29th, 1983-April 29th, 2002

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