Soccer postpones grieving

Thursday, Sept. 30, 2009, a crisp, foggy morning in Snohomish, Wash.
I was just waking and as I was walking down my bedroom stairs, I noticed my mom on the sofa with a solemn expression on her face.
Curious as to what was wrong, I asked her what was on her mind. In an abrupt statement she said, “Valerie died this morning.”
My stomach dropped, my head was spinning, my heart shattered.
Soon after, I went into shock.
My best friend was dead. She had been battling cancer for two years and the hope I had wasn’t enough to save her life.
All I wanted was to focus on my soccer game that afternoon. I blocked myself from the pain, after all, this felt unreal. As the school day went on, I started to forget about everything that had happened.
Soccer was what I could make right. When school got out, the soccer-routine went into play (go to the locker room, blast music, change clothes and then run out to the bus).
My mom had told the coaches what had happened. They asked if I was okay but I pushed them away eagerly saying, “it’s fine” with a smile on my face.
As warm-ups began, the game soon followed. We quickly realized it would be an easy win. In the second half, my coach decided to put me as right striker knowing I’d never get the opportunity again.
I was ecstatic. We were up 4-0 and the ball was crossed to me. I went for it. It was probably the weakest ball I’ve ever kicked.
But in a matter of seconds, I had scored my first high school goal.
I couldn’t believe it. It was as if a guardian angel had helped me, I thought of Valerie. I was full of emotion, mostly happiness.
We won the game and ended up getting home at midnight. When I finally got all settled in bed, Valerie’s death had crept back into my mind.
Days, weeks, months and a year had passed. Since her death, life has changed.
Moving from house to house and schools multiple times, I put my thoughts aside about Valerie and focused on the present.
As time went on, I eventually had my one love stripped away from me; soccer. With all of the commotion occurring, it was difficult to mourn. I became depressed and didn’t know where or who to turn to.
I put up a wall; even I could not take it down.
I became distant from everyone I had known, including family. However, the second anniversary of Valerie’s death is when my chance to mourn arose.
My mom, dad and I began to talk and grieve together. Without my family, I could never have gotten through this chaos.
I used to be the person who couldn’t understand, one who wanted to, but simply could not. Valerie gave me the ability to understand loss and pain from death.
She gave me a gift I never thought I would receive.
I wish to this day that Valerie had never passed but because of her, I am stronger and can help others in mourning.
Her death has shaped me into someone who can help others with loss of a friend or family member. She was humorous, musically inclined and a strong human being.
I strive to become half of who she was.
Three years ago my best friend died.
Three years ago I lost the one person I could tell anything to.
Three years ago my life shattered.
But today, I see a new beginning; one with light and one with adventure. My life has restarted. Rest in peace, Valerie, and hello to new beginnings.