15 years ago today, I lost a best friend.
Kristel was in a fatal car crash, driving home from prom, less than 2 weeks away from our high school graduation.
Her loss left a huge hole in my heart. I went off to college, started dating my elementary school crush (!!) and was trying my best to grow up, be strong and “move on.” I’ve never been the girl that pretends to have it all together. If you’ve known me for some time or just met me, then you probably know my anxiety gets the best of me and I can be super shy, super awkward and I cry very easily. Kristel was my polar opposite. She was always cheerful and always smiling. Even when life wasn’t going her way or there was some boy problem (there was a always a boy problem), she seemed to brush things off so easily, crack a joke and make you laugh hysterically.
In fact, the week leading up to Prom was emotional for me (typical). We were part of the ‘Every 15 minutes’ DUI simulated experience at school. On Friday, at assembly, we watched a video recap of the week and listened to a motivational speaker talk about the dangers of drinking and driving. I balled like a baby (obviously). Kristel laughed it off. She told me that [the dui experience] “wasn’t real” and that it wouldn’t happen to us. That we needed to cheer up because we had prom the next day.
That afternoon, we sat at a mexican restaurant for hours. I wish i could remember what we talked about but i don’t. I just remember feeling grateful. I remember walking to my car after and hugging her extremely tight. I told her I didn’t want to let her go and that I didn’t want to say goodbye. Somehow I knew that moment was special.
Fast forward to prom, and it was all a whirlwind. Kristel and her boyfriend were nominated for Prom King and Queen. They didn’t win but when it was all over, I told her she would always be my Queen and I snapped a photo of us together…right before she walked away…and out of my life forever.
My phone died that night and when I woke up, I had sooooo many voicemails. When I first heard the news, I didn’t believe it. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare. This couldn’t be real. The next voicemail brought me to my knees. It was one of my best friends. He broke the news and said he was really worried. Nobody had heard from me. The rest is a blur…
Somehow, my RUGRATS and I made it through Grad night with smiles and laughter. Graduating from high school was so bittersweet. She was supposed to sit next to me at the ceremony. It took me years to not cry every time I thought of her.
Fast forward to today, I’m living out my bestie’s dream. I didn’t even know she wanted to be a graphic designer. We talked every day but it was usually only about boys, boys, boys. I actually read about her goals for the future in the newspaper.
I stopped thinking “what if” a long time, and now, I can share her story with a sense of peace. Our friendship was a gift. How is it that someone I knew for only 3 short years could make such an impact on my life?
Last year, I decided to take on the #100dayscreatingthekrissafont challenge, and it was such an amazing experience. It took me back to the “good ol’ days” and I laughed and I cried and I cherished every moment of it. Kristel was such a light in my life and I loved sharing her positivity and cheerfulness with the world again.
I’ve been trying to publish the font for months now, but every time I open up Fontmaker, I can never “perfect” it. I’ve been thinking about scrapping it and starting from scratch. My goal is to have a finished product by September, which is her birthday month. In the mean time, you can check out the making-of the Krissa Font on mintandmerit.com or purchase a baby onesie on Zazzle. 💛
If there is anything you can take from this post today, I hope you remember that life can change in an instant and we should never take anything or anyone for granted.
Also, you never know whose life you are impacting…
What will you leave behind?