My Best Friend Died In High School, And I Feel Guilty

Last weekend was my best friend Macy’s 23rd birthday. She passed away almost eight years ago, and even though she’s no longer here to celebrate, I always celebrate for her. I lost my best friend when I was 16. I wish I could say it doesn’t hurt anymore, but it definitely does.

Macy and I were inseparable. She was a year younger than me, which in high school was more of a big deal than it is now. When she tried out for our cheerleading squad as a freshman, I knew we’d be fast friends. Macy had this infectious smile that you couldn’t help but want to be around. Us and another friend were like The Three Musketeer’s and did everything together.

I knew Macy was troubled after really getting to know her, but it didn’t stop me from being her friend. I wanted to help her more than anything. She was having issues with her parents and friends from her old school. She was self-harming, getting into drugs and alcohol and making some more than questionable new friends. Macy started distancing herself from me.

I kept reaching out to her, despite her attempts to ditch me left and right. I didn’t want to lose my friend because I loved her dearly. At this point, I knew Macy was really in trouble and needed to get serious help. My other friend and I tried to contact her parents but couldn’t get through to them. I think they were in denial.

Macy asked me why I was meddling in her life. When you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t want help or doesn’t accept that they have a problem, they take it out on you. I explained to her that I loved and cared about her and that I didn’t want to lose her. I wanted her to get help so that she would be around forever, but she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.

We got into a massive fight and exchanged words that I wish we hadn’t. In a fit of anger, I told her if she didn’t want my help, I didn’t want to talk to her anymore.

That was the last thing I ever said to her.

A few months later, she tried to reach out to me. I had removed myself from the situation far enough to understand that she was a person who in her current state wasn’t good for me. I knew that unless she turned things around, I couldn’t be her friend. So I never called her back.

Our other friend had been in contact with her and told me she was finally getting help. I think she was in some kind of treatment for a while. She was doing better and had taken up horseback riding as part of her rehabilitation.

In November, 2006, I got a call that there had been an accident at her equestrian show. She was in a medically-induced coma in the hospital. I felt like the world was caving in on me, but my friend told me there was a chance that Macy would pull through and wake up in a few days.

We went to the hospital to see her, which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I remember holding her hand and telling her I was there, begging her to wake up. The nurses told us that she started doing better after we visited, which was good news.

On November 4, 2006, I was at my weekend job at my family’s lacrosse field. My friend called with what I assumed was an update, but when I picked up I heard “Macy’s dead.”

My on/off boyfriend at the time took me home, but I don’t remember much else about that day except that I changed into pajama pants with Grumpy from Snow White on them.


I like to think this is where Macy is now. Source: Shutterstock

Macy’s family requested that we wear pink at her funeral because it was her favorite color. It’s exactly what she would have wanted: everyone in hues of blush, fuchsia and neon. I keep a lot of pink in my life for Macy because I don’t want to forget her. I got a pink flower tattoo for her, and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about her.

Dealing with Macy’s death was (and is) difficult. It was really the first time someone our own age had died so everyone was trying to figure out how to deal with their feelings, but I was lashing out at everyone who treated my best friend so badly. I was angry and frustrated. Mostly, I felt guilty.

I know that Macy’s death was not my fault. It was an accident. I’ve felt guilty about the last words I spoke to her and how I left my friend when she probably needed me the most. Everyone says that I was doing what I needed to do what was best for me, which is true. Macy was getting involved with things I didn’t want to be involved with, and I needed to cut ties. But that doesn’t make the guilt go away, even now. I struggle with it everyday, and it affects my relationships and friendships as an adult.

Last weekend was her birthday. She would have been 23. I had a cupcake for her and blew out a candle. I wished that I could have spent the past eight birthdays with her.
Have you ever lost a friend before? How did you deal? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Love

    It’s hard isn’t it?

  • Ali

    I am in tears now!!!!

  • Johanna

    Macy would be proud of the beautiful strong woman you are now 🙂

  • Sheridan

    I’m sorry for your lost.

  • Karina

    Happy belated birthday to Macy. I bet she’s smiling down at how strong you’ve grown and how successful you’ve become since her death. Do good for yourself and do good for her. Make her proud <3
    SIP Macy xo