When Forever is Cut Short- a tribute to a friend

When Forever is Cut Short

A tribute to my sweet friend Maddie Devries

By Liz Hornick

I’ve never been one to handle death easily. One of the things I really like about myself is my ability to empathize with others- to really feel what they’re feeling. However, this trait makes sad moments that much harder. Yesterday I received the news that one of my college friends had passed away.

I froze.

In an instant it was as if I went through at least four of the five stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression. It can’t be true, I mean we’re only 20. We’re supposed to be invincible, living life to the fullest, facing adversity head on beside our best friends, living forever. This isn’t possible. I never got to say goodbye.

She had so much life. The brightest smile, the widest eyes, a contagious laugh, and a personality that filled an entire room. She knew how to make you feel welcome and she was so good at including others. She was patient and understanding. One day not too long ago, her and I drove through town on our way to the local camera shop. She recently got into film and was obsessed with taking pictures on an old Nikon her parents once used. The camera was still in amazing shape and I know she was determined to use up whatever life it had left. She even convinced me to buy one just like hers. The windows were rolled down and she controlled the songs that blared out of my black Toyota Tacoma. She was so psyched that I drove a truck because I could give her rides while her normal mode of transportation fit in the bed, handlebars and all.

Her music taste was very eclectic. She played songs ranging from the heavy beats of Brock Hampton to the classic melodies found in songs by the Rolling Stones. “Paint it Black” started playing and we sang the lyrics effortlessly, crediting our dads who had good taste in music even though neither of us would ever admit it to them. The wind blew through our hair and she picked on me as I struggled to keep my long locks contained. I jokingly wished that I was bald cause it would make having the windows down so much easier. I never thought of myself as being so funny but she laughed as if she was seated front row at a John Mulaney show.

 

 

In that moment, I swear we were infinite.

I know these thoughts cause more harm than help, but I wish there was something I could have done. Something I could have said. My head keeps flooding with “what if’s” and “if only’s” and the reality of it all is hard to accept. I think about her loved ones often. Her boyfriend she spoke so highly of, her best friends who she was never without, and her family who I know loved her. She was so loved.

 

She was so loved.

Living in the midst of a pandemic is hard. We are in a time of unprecedented isolation and it seems as if sickness is lurking around every corner. I don’t know the cause of her passing and those details aren’t mine to share. But check in with one another. Call that friend, hug that family member, reach out to anyone and everyone. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned through this, it’s that we aren’t eternal and that we need each other now more than ever.

The books all lied to us. No one lasts forever, not even 20 somethings. While our time on this planet is limited, I’m so sure that she has found infinity somewhere much better. And I know we’ll meet again soon, someday when all the eternities, forevers, and infinities finally come true.



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