Last Tuesday, I received a text message explaining that I lost my friend Daniel.
July 16, my boyfriend and I wept after reading a text message that we’d lost our dear friend Ben to an accident while working on his car.
Later in July, my boyfriend lost another friend to an early morning motorcycle crash on the south side of Indianapolis.
In August, I learned that a close family friend lost her baby just weeks before her due date.
It’s been a rough summer.
But all this loss has got me thinking about how I present myself to people and what kind of impression I leave behind.
My friends who passed this summer made such an impact on my life: an impact that I didn’t notice until they were gone.
Ben was an amazing man. A Purdue graduate and avid car-lover, I saw him every weekend—whether it was at track events or just a group dinner.
He loved his car, loved working on it, but more than that, he loved helping his friends with their cars—with anything, really. He and I talked about everything: cars, Butler, Butler’s run to the Final Four. If there was a conversation to be had, Ben and I had it.
I’ll never forget the wave of panic, anger, sadness and disbelief I felt when I discovered that Ben had passed away.
I started making calls, yelling into the receiver because I hoped if I repeated the phrase with more emphasis, someone would simply tell me it was a rumor, a misunderstanding.
I was standing on the roof of a dance club in Nashville, Tenn. when my boyfriend’s dad finally called back and explained what had happened to Ben. I was in disbelief. No one deserves to die at 27. He wasn’t supposed to pass away so soon.
Too soon after, Ben, I heard of Daniel’s passing, which broke my heart.
I always loved going to Daniel’s house because I anticipated a spectacular life-advice session. He was one of those people that you meet in life that you are convinced is a reincarnation of a once-great philosopher.
He gave the best advice, and was one of the most insightful people I’d ever known. A beer in one hand and a cigarette dangling out of the other, he gave me some of best advice I’ve ever received. He had the wisdom of a parent with the life experiences of a 22-year-old. Daniel, as laid back as he was, was always concerned with his younger brother Steve.
As Steve’s legal guardian, he always pushed him to achieve the best grades and actually try in school.
He was the best of both worlds.
As much as it breaks my heart to remember that both of these people have permanently exited my life, it is a reminder of the impact they made.
They were so influential to me, even in the short time I knew them and in their passing, I have been inspired to reevaluate myself and become someone who makes just as much of an impact as they did on me, before I pass on.
I’m very forward, very blunt, very in-your-face and extremely honest.
I try not to be rude, but it doesn’t always work,
I try to think before I speak— though that rarely works— but above all I try to remind myself to be nice.
I’m young, therefore I have this contagious, toxic attitude that most young adults possess: the infamous ‘screw it’ attitude.
Being cordial isn’t always the first thought on my mind when I meet new people.
But after this tumultuous summer of heartbreak and funerals, I’ve been rethinking how I should act around others.
This summer has inspired me to not only be kinder to everyone, but also to try to listen to everyone, to try to bite my sarcastic tongue and remember that one negative comment can ruin someone’s day.
I’m determined to give my personality a make-over and become someone inspirational, someone who is kind-hearted and substantially less intimidating. I want to make the same impacts on others that my late friends made on me. I want there to be a multitude of good things to say when I die, as opposed to negative memories.
My late friends were both ahead of their time and gone too soon.
Although I miss them every day, I also thank them every day for entering my life and having something positive to say or giving good advice.
I can truly say that after meeting both Ben and Daniel, my life has never been the same.
So Ben and Daniel, I hope I made one third of the impact on your life that you made on mine. This is to you. You were truly remarkable souls, and you’ve inspired me to be better that I could ever imagine.