I’m not really sure where to begin. My parents asked me if I wanted to write something about you, for you, and to be honest, I didn’t really feel that I should. I wasn’t sure if it was my place to. There are surely so many more people who were far closer to you or had a deeper connection to you than I did. I didn’t want to because I didn’t even know what to say. On Saturday, October 27th, my parents went to your family’s house for a dinner. They asked me if I wanted to go, but I had declined to go. You know how it goes, you grow up a bit, you’re not a kid anymore, you have other things to do, you don’t need to go to every family dinner, so you stay at home instead. My parents came home later that evening and brought me back some of your mom’s delicious food. I chatted with them about everything and all seemed well. Less than 24 hours later, on Sunday. October 28th, you were gone.

I didn’t know how to feel. I was shocked. I remember asking your younger sister about you the last time she and your mom came over to our house a few months ago, she said you were well. I vaguely remember you came over to our house a couple years ago for Eid, and we talked for a bit. I couldn’t remember anything we talked about. We weren’t really best friends or even close friends, but I was overcome with numbness. This last week has been hard. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be for your mom, dad, sisters, and brother. I spoke to your brother at your funeral prayer. He didn’t immediately recognize me, and he asked me how I knew you. How did I know you? I told him that we all used to play together at the Yellow Society family functions and events. In his darkest hour, his face lit up, and he smiled for a brief moment. He remembered who I am, and he commented on how much fun those times were, all of us together as kids.

I want to talk about how I know you, how I remember you. You were my childhood friend and a large part of my childhood. I knew you because our dads worked together and were a part of the Yellow Society. I saw you and your little brother at every summer picnic, every winter event, and every family dawat. In fact, every time I knew an event or function was coming up, I would ask my parents if you both were going. I always looked forward to seeing you and your brother. You and I were the same age and, therefore, we easily connected. A good portion of my childhood was with you. Remember that Elks Lodge building, with the moose statue out front, where we would spend all our time on the upper balcony? You, me, our brothers, my cousin, and all the other kids our age. What about the picnics, where we’d spend hours running around, playing freeze tag, manhunt, and racing each other. I remember one time we were at Promi’s house for a gathering and we spent all our time upstairs with the other kids. You and I were play wrestling. Just rough housing a bit when you accidentally hit my head against the radiator. I cut my head open a little bit and you were panicking because you didn’t want to get in trouble, like an older brother tries to calm his younger sibling down when they accidentally hit them too hard. I avoided my mom all night that night so neither of us would get in trouble. Looking back, it was kind of funny. I miss all those times we played together.

As kids, we’re just innocent, careless, and free. We spend all our time looking forward to every ‘next time’, every future birthday, and every next life accomplishment. I asked to see if you would be present at any event or gathering, we attended as kids. We looked forward to every next time we’ll see each other, we anticipate it. I wish things didn’t change as we grow older. I wish we didn’t drift apart. On Saturday, October 27th, my parents asked me if I wanted to go, and I said no. On Sunday, you were gone. That will forever haunt me and serve as a reminder that we should not, cannot, take life for granted. You were only 27. Why did you go? Why did you leave it all behind? I would give anything to hang out with you one more time and just catch up on all the years we missed out on in being in each other’s lives. I’m sorry we grew apart. Thank you for being my friend and you will always be a memorable part of my childhood. I’ll miss you.