My Friends Carried Me
Updated: Dec 22, 2018
It was the summer of 1999. I was 19 years old. I just finished my second year of college and I was so excited to enjoy the summer with my friends. Two years earlier, my 3 best friends and I met a group of guys and we all became really great friends.
We finally had a real crew to hang out with- 4 girls and 4 guys. The summer days and nights belonged to us.
We mostly hung out at Evan’s house, probably because his parents were the most liberal out of the bunch. Actually, they were DEFINITELY the most liberal.
Case in point: Evan’s mom gave us a cooler filled with jello shots to take into the limo at prom. When we opened the cooler and saw those little white paper cups filled with red, blue, and green shots it was like we just opened a treasure chest filled with gold coins shining up at us. Evan’s mom was awesome. She just wanted us to have fun that night.
Friday and Saturday nights with the crew at Evan’s house consisted of playing drinking games, truth or dare, listening to music, getting into philosophical conversations and debates, and always a walk to the park because who doesn’t like to go on the swings after a night of drinking? It was just a time for a bunch of teenagers to have fun and figure out who the hell they were.
Teenagers travel in packs, crews, and entourages. It’s part of their development to naturally want to be with their friends all the time. It’s normal. It’s basic. It’s to be expected. But there was something very special and unique going on that summer.
You see, my dad died at the beginning of the summer in 1999. At a time when I was just a teenager trying to figure out who the hell I was, the world as I knew it was tumbling down.
My family at home had splintered. Home was a reminder that my dad was no longer alive and it was my goal to stay out of my house as often as I could to avoid that painful reminder.
I sought refuge in my friends. They don’t know it but, that summer, my friends carried me.
I didn’t talk to my friends about missing my dad because they all had both of their parents. I knew they wouldn’t understand. They couldn’t understand and it wasn’t their fault. That summer, I never once said or thought, “my friends don’t understand.” I wasn’t focused on my friends lack of ability to understand how I was feeling. They didn’t need to understand for them to carry me.
Understanding didn’t come into play for me until a few years later when Evan’s mom died. When I saw Evan at the services, we hugged tightly and just kept saying how much it sucked. When we were embraced in that moment, there was this weird feeling of understanding between both of us. No words were necessary. We just knew.
Janeen Mary Chasan LCAT ATR-BC
Licensed, Registered and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist
Filmmaker, Podcaster and Online Educator