you saved me

I have a best friend
A best friend who can’t read or write
A best friend who can’t speak English
A best friend who always has my back
A best friend who’s small until I need protecting
A best friend who sits on guard while I cry
A best friend who knows my darkest secrets
A best friend who loves me just as unconditionally as I love her
I have a best friend

Every night I fall asleep to the sound of her breath— in and out. I try and match her steadiness. I try to remind myself that for as long as I may fall asleep sharing the same air as her, things will be okay. And even after she must go, I know that I’ll have her breathing burned into my mind; I know I will always share the same air as her.

She came to me before things started to get bad— thirteen years ago. I remember the day so vividly. Riding home in the car, knowing that she was going to be something, and I now know that she ended up being the one to save my life. It’s hard to imagine what these last eight years, specifically, would have been like without her by my side. She’s shown me what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. Through my bad days of punching the wall and crying my eyes out, to the good days of reading a book silently in my room— she has been by my side.

To everyone else, she comes off as crazy, mean, and annoying. I’d definitely agree that she’s annoying in certain circumstances. But the fact that others see her that way makes our connection so much more special. She only let’s me completely in, and she’s the only one who knows every dark thing that has ever gone through my mind.

On the nights when she’s calm enough to sleep by my side, I will place my hand over her heart and allow it to put my broken pieces back together. The steady beating of her heart has played a huge role in my efforts to keep fighting. Her heartbeat is so special to me, in fact, I have it permanently scarred in ink down my forearm.

The love I have for her scares me sometimes. I would literally die for her, I would protect her to my death if that’s what it took. She’s proven on multiple occasions that she would do the same for me.

Saying goodbye to her will be one of the hardest things I will ever go through. Knowing that she is temporary, knowing that everything is temporary is scary, yet comforting. These moments I’ve had with her wouldn’t be as special if I was able to create them forever. So the memories I will share with her, and of her will be a constant reminder of why I’ve made it this far.

When she was brought into my life, it was my understanding that we would grow up together, and I knew how special that would be. Looking back at the last thirteen-years so far, I never could have foreseen her saving me. Sure, she had no idea what my mental illness was doing to my life, but that didn’t matter. She was there everyday after school to kiss my tears away and listen patiently while I told her everything that was wrong. The beautiful thing was, she didn’t need to respond. I didn’t need a voice to soothe my worries. I just needed her; and she knew that. I still need her, I still talk to her, and she still calms me with her presence.

I know that she was sent to me with the mission to save me. I know that when she does have to go, I will be ready. She will only leave me alone in the physical world, but our souls will be forever connected, and her heart will stay forever beating on my skin.

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend. Lilly, you have not only been my best friend, you have been my rock, my light, my smile, my laughter, my calm, and even my crazy; but most importantly, you have been my savior. I love you to the moon.

####

Through the hard times in our life there will always be something that gets us through; whether it’s a pet, a friend, a parent, a hobby— whatever. Don’t ever take that thing, whatever it is, for granted. Everything we experience in life was sent to us with some sort of meaning. If that thing happens to have a heartbeat, don’t waste it. Take and give back as much as you can from this heartbeat. Because in the process of it saving you, I promise you played a part in saving it too.

-Kelsi

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