But in the friendship I speak of, they mix and work themselves into one piece, with so universal a mixture, that there is no more sign of the seam by which they were first conjoined. If a man should importune me to give a reason why I loved him, I find it could no otherwise be expressed, than by making answer: because it was he, because it was I.

There is, beyond all that I am able to say, I know not what inexplicable and fated power that brought on this union. We sought one another long before we met, and by the characters we heard of one another, which wrought upon our affections more than, in reason, mere reports should do; I think ’twas by some secret appointment of heaven.

– Michel de Montaigne, On Friendship Tr. Charles Cotton

We both knew it was going to happen long before we admitted it.  And once she knew it was close, once she could sense that it was coming, she told her mom to have her friends come over one last time.  It was a summons to a last hug, a last whispered, “I’ll miss you, I love you.”   There was no conversation to have.  There were no mutual goodbyes.  There were no last desperate prayers or declarations of optimism.  There were just two best friends, in a dark room, in silence.

What would we have said to each other, after all?  Hearts don’t know how to say goodbye, because they’re never really ready to leave each other.  There is no way to say goodbye to someone you love.  Would I have said that it was horribly unfair, that I was angry, and that nobody understood what I was going through?  I knew it was more unfair for her than it was for me, and her pain was harder to understand.  That I was scared?  I knew we faced totally different obstacles.  No matter how much we loved each other, we were alone.  Alone, together.  We couldn’t face her death in the same way.  We couldn’t discuss it because I knew I was going to live in the end.  How cruel it would have been for me to gripe, when I was losing a friend, and she was losing the rest of her life.

This is the story of true friendship.

It’s a memoir about the illness and death of my best friend, Laura, when I was 13 and in the 8th grade, and the grief and identity crisis that came next. Geared towards middle and high school readers who may have experienced their own losses, this work explores the meaning of friendship, the anguish of terminal illness, and the process of grieving.

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