I was the legal guardian of a 16-year-old girl whose mother didn't want her anymore. That girl, Crystal Rose Giczy, was my best friend and confidant, my roommate, and my partner in crime in everything I did. We were inseparable. That is, until August 2nd, 1998, when a hit-and-run accident took Crystal away from this world forever.


Our song is on the radio. How do you say goodbye to a song?

Death isn't something easy for me to comprehend. I'm never going to wake up to her laughter again. We'll never wear the Halloween costumes we made 6 months early. We'll never go to the coffee shop and drink cappuccinos and pretend we're all grown up. What do you mean... dead?

Every day is a challenge. I wake up, get dressed, go to work, and come home. Every second of every day she's there in the back of my mind. It's not fair. It's like this isn't really me anymore, you know? Everything looks different and sounds different. I've started acting different; I wear different clothes, I have new hair. I'm working 12 hours a day. Who is this new Sara and where did she come from? I want the old one back. I want Crystal back.

I even miss the things I hated about her. I wish she were here so I could yell at her for accepting $20 in collect calls. I wish I could complain because she didn't pick her clothes up off the floor of the bathroom. How could I have been so stupid? Two days after I told her she couldn't come home, she died. If that's not fate doing its best to work a cruel sick joke into my life....

But there's this nagging feeling always in the back of my mind: She's not really gone... She can't be. Any second she'll come running up the stairs blabbering about her boyfriend or her new lipstick or some guy she met at the bus stop. If I just think hard enough I can figure out a way around this whole "death" thing. There must be a rewind button, I just haven't found it yet. Young, vibrant kids don't die. People I love don't die. Only old people and sick people. Right?

Not so my precious friends. Never has anything so devastating shaken my fragile world. Will I ever recover? Nope. Never. Everything I see is a constant reminder of her. Of us. Even now tears are falling on this paper as I frantically scribble what I hope are the right words to convey what I'm feeling. I want to paint a picture of the pain I feel for every memory that plays itself over again in my mind.

We used to sit on the back balcony to smoke and drink coffee while talking about life and the universe and everything. We'd stare at the balcony directly across the alley... the one facing ours. We'd make up stories about the people who live in that apartment. We always wished they'd come out on their balcony and stare at us so we could wave over at them. They never came out.

The day after I heard the news of her death I went out on the balcony, alone. I sat in her chair. Was that my way of saying I wished it were my chair that was empty instead? I don't know. I just know I couldn't stand to look at hers. I lit a cigarette and took a sip of my coffee. Sure I was torturing myself, but I couldn't deal with it any other way. I looked up. Can you guess what I saw?

The curtains pulled back, the sliding glass door open, and two neighbors sitting on their balcony. Staring at me. My hand was poised to wave. If she'd only held out one more day, she could have waved with me. She would have been so happy. Do you think that was her way of saying hello? Or was it God's way of kicking me when I was down?

Our song is on the radio. But right now it feels like every song is our song.