It is funny how close we feel to someone once they have died. You remember insignificant moments you have had with said person and you mourn their loss as if they were someone you knew very personally, but how much did you really know them?
Did you know their favorite book genre? No, you just know they liked to read and read a lot in their time.
How about their favorite color? Or if they’ve had a pet before? Or when their brithday is without looking on your calendar? Did you know what made them happy? Or the nightmares that cursed their dreams every now and then? Or their religion? Did you know if they were a movie person? Or what they liked to do in their free time? Or what they wanted to be when they grew up?
Do these questions define whether you knew someone?
A few days ago an old friend of mine passed. She was my age and we were closer than others but not the best of friends. We had lunch everyday and sometimes had classes together. She was an amazing person, always smiling and she literally brightened someone’s day with her witty comments or quotes from some of her favorite authors like Edgar Allan Poe. She wasn’t the ‘popular’ girl in school, but our school was small so everyone knew each other’s name. Anyone that has talked to her would agree that she was a beautiful and nice young lady that did not deserve to go through what she had to in her lifetime.
When I got the news she had passed it was surreal. I thought ‘there’s no way she’s gone, I swear we just talked the other day’. I did not let my tears fall until I arrived at her viewing. Pictures of her growing up lined the walls of the small room, and her family and friends sat in clustered circles, laughing at memories they have shared with her. I waited in line with my group of friends, we were all terrified to make it to her casket, but I knew I couldn’t leave now. If I didn’t say goodbye I would regret it.
The thought lingering in the back of my mind came forward when I saw someone that didn’t really know her, someone who was crying very harshly, over someone they’d only had a few short conversations with. I thought ‘what gives you the right to cry harder than any of us?’ Immediately I knew the thought was rude, everyone has the right to cry, regardless of the heaviness. I was a bit baffled. Not by the person crying over someone they hardly knew, but by why they would cry so hard.
I have known the girl in the casket for six or so years now, I sat with her and talked to her every day, yet I did not cry as hard as this girl, who stood in front of me, who only knew her for maybe half of that time and only talked to her every now and then. Does that make me emotionless or her super emotional? Maybe the girl in front of me just wants the attention? How horrible would that be?
So, now I question again, what means you truly know a person? What makes someone your friend, or even your best friend? Is it knowing everything about them? Is it being there friend the longest? Is it the trustworthyness of the person? What?