Over the summer, I went through what felt like the worst experience of my life so far. Now, I’m only 20, so I’m sure this one won’t always be at the top of the list, but it really took the cake in my relatively short life.
I woke up one morning in July to a text from my boss saying that my best friend (who I work with) was in the hospital and might need surgery. There were no details as to why she was hospitalized, just that she had multiple organ failure, among other things, and she wouldn’t be able to work for a while.
Later, I found out that she had necrotizing pancreatitis, which resulted in her multiple organ failure and a hole in her esophagus. She was in the ICU in Pittsburgh and needed surgery, and that wasn’t even the scariest part. The scariest part is that if her boyfriend hadn’t forced her to go to the Emergency Room when he did, she would have died.
Understandably, I was a mess the entire time she was in the hospital. But, I ended up being able to hold myself together and push through. Looking back, I have come to realize that I wouldn’t have gotten through it with as much grace as I did without my support system.
The day that I learned of her hospitalization, all I wanted to do was go to work. I know that sounds strange, but my friends and co-workers there knew her like I did, so they were the only ones who understood what I was going through well enough.
That night, a few of my friends from work convinced me to go out to eat after we got off work that night. I didn’t want to go because I felt guilty having fun when my best friend was in a hospital bed, but they told me that I needed to eat and have a little bit of fun that day. I think it was then that I realized how much my friends positively affect my life.
For the two months my best friend was sick, my friends and co-workers showed me how important it is to have a strong support system. They let me cry when I needed to, convinced me to eat when I hadn’t for a few days and talked to me when I wanted to talk about what happened. Most of all, they stood by me and lifted me up when I couldn’t do it myself.
I can say from personal experience that you are made better by the people you surround yourself with. We need people who lift us up in our darkest moments and make us laugh when all we want to do is cry. We need people who will be honest with us when we are being ridiculous, and who will tell us that we are strong and capable of anything we set our minds to. We need people who will dry our tears and walk with us through unimaginable circumstances.
You can’t go through life alone. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this rough point in my life, it’s that everyone needs some kind of support system to survive. Whether it’s through family, friends or co-workers, we all need people who will be with us through the highs and lows in life.
I’m happy to say that my best friend came back to work recently, and while she’s not completely healed from her illness, she will be OK. I will be too, and it’s all thanks to my support system.