I knew Nick since I was in seventh grade. He was in my sister’s grade, 4 years older. I always had a crush on him. I thought he was so funny and he seemed like a genuinely nice person. Of course I was much too young, so I kept these feelings to myself. In 9th grade, he was in 12th grade. I remember my sister left me at the school, without a ride. He immediately offered me one and I blogged about it, embarrassingly enough, in my livejournal. Finally, freshman year of college, Nick went with my family to my sister’s graduation ceremony. He was the type of loyal guy that would do anything for anybody. Even without a job at the time, he bought new shoes and new clothes for the occasion. All day we went laughing together and just having an amazing time. We hung out all night, and every day after. With Nick everything was so simple. I liked him, and he liked me. We went together so well. After three years of dating, we decided to move in together. The best moment of my life was coming home and seeing him unpacking all of his things in the living room with the record player playing. I bought a bottle of champagne, and we kept the bottle on the shelf to remember that moment. Living together was so easy. We got along so well, could tell each other anything. We were comfortable staying home and watching Netflix, drinking wine. We were also comfortable going out with friends, or going out alone. Nick wasn’t the jealous or untrusting type. With Nick, I was a motivated, happy person. Everything in life was figured out. As long as I had Nick in my life, I didn’t care too much where I was going. I had that one person that would go through life with me. Sometimes when I would get overly stressed or worried, he was always there to relax me and tell me how amazing and wonderful I was. A few months before we moved in together, Nick was getting sick. We weren’t sure exactly what it was but it could have been Crohns disease. Nick saw specialists and doctors, but he lost he insurance for a few months at the end of the year. He was scared for the debt and the uselessness the doctors could be at times so he didn’t go. He got weaker and weaker. Eventually, he had to take a leave of absence from work until his insurance came back in a few months. During this time, he got so weak and pale. It scared me. Many times I asked him “Are you going to be OK?” “Are you going to make it thru?” “Do you want me to take you to the emergency room?” and he always insisted he was okay and he was going to make it. I guess I never knew the full extent of what could happen at that point. I was worried, but I was optimistic that he was going to get better. Finally, in January, he got he insurance back and went to the specialist. They told him he didn’t need to be hospitalized, that he just needed to wait on some bloodwork. A few days later, he and his mom decided to go to the emergency room. They had enough of waiting and Nick was getting drastically worse. When he got there, he had a seizure. I remember waking up from my nap and getting a call from his mom giving me the news. She reassured me that he was in good care and was going to be okay. I drove to the hospital, only to get worse news. They sat me down in a room and told me that he wasn’t breathing on his own, and his heart stopped pumping and they were performing CPR. This was the worst feeling in the world. I was in shock and confused. Finally, they got him stabilized and we were able to see him. It was scary seeing him there on the hospital bed. He wasn’t conscious, but he still talked to him, encouraging him to make it I couldn’t help but laugh because he was naked except for pink fuzzy socks. This was typical Nick. He just wanted to be comfortable. They were able to transport him to the other hospital, where the care was more sufficient. When we arrived at the other hospital, they told us that his heart wasn’t beating on it’s own. It was another hour and a half until they came out again. The doctor sat us in a room and said things weren’t looking good. His heart was beating again, but he was the sickest patient in Grand Rapids and he had a laundry list of problems. I remember looking out the window, so confused and wondering what I would do without him. The doctor assured us that they had a great team of specialists working on him and they were trying their hardest. It was just time to wait. We waited in the hospital for ten hours, hearing news of his body improving. I was so optimistic. Nick was the type of person that a bad thing would happen to him, but somehow he ended up unscathed. I told his best friend this and said that I would hit Nick on the back of the head for being so stubborn about getting care sooner, laughing. Finally, after midnight, they did the catscan. They warned us that since his brain went without oxygen for some time that there was a chance that he would have no brain activity. When the doctor brought us in the room, I wanted the news right away. He made sure everyone was in the room and this scared me. Finally, he informed us that Nick was braindead. I couldn’t believe it. This was it. This was the end. All that hope that I had was false. I went home in shock. I didn’t want to wake up to no calls or texts from him. Over the next month, I was constantly surrounded by people. I only listened to music Nick hated for the first week. I just wanted a distraction from all of this. My friends were wonderful thru it all. Finally, when the fifth week rolled around, I felt a depression setting in. It wasn’t even when I thought of him. It was when I was at work or school, doing seemingly meaningless work. I stopped eating. I had no appetite. It just seemed pointless. All of a sudden I was alone and it was scary and confusing. Some days were better than others. I could function and smile and be happy, but when it came to coming home, I would drive around the block a few times to avoid going to the place we shared. All his clothing, Bob Dylan posters, political books, and our champagne bottle on the shelf from when we moved in made things worse. Sometimes, I would wake up and it would be the first thought. I would just lay there, depressed. I had dreams that Nick was still alive, but sick. In my dream, I try to convince him to go to the hospital sooner. Other nights I couldn’t sleep at all.  But one morning, my neighbors below me were blaring their music at 10 am. I was in the shower and I started laughing aloud thinking of how Nick used to hit the floor with a hammer to make them shut up. This made me feel a whole new feeling. Gratefulness that I could have met him and that we shared a love so special. I have new hope for the future. It’s the small things that make life worth living and the special people that you meet. Sometimes it’s absolutely unbearable, but then I spend time with my friends and realize that there’s a lot still in this world that Nick would want me to enjoy. He would want me to look back on those memories and smile and laugh.