Losing A Friend


Image by Marc Blowers | Instagram @cashcarnegie

This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Suprice Vialpando.

Have you ever received that dreaded phone call?  The one you hoped you’d never get?  The one that changed your life?

I have.

I remember working out at the gym when my phone rang.  It was a good friend of mine.  I answered and he asked if I was sitting down.  Nervously, I said yes.  Then he dropped the news.

Suprice – my friend, his girlfriend, and a person loved by many of us – had passed away.

My heart sank and tears erupted from my face.  I resisted breaking down in public and expressed an intensity I didn’t know I had as I wrapped up my workout.  I finished, got in the car with my brother, and drove home while the gravity of the news set in.

I couldn’t believe it.

Memories of her, and the times we had spent together, flooded my head.

I remembered the time I drunkenly dared her to slap me on New Year’s Eve.  She had enthusiastically obliged.

I remembered the time myself, her, and 8 other friends took a roadtrip to Phoenix to attend a two day music festival.  We laughed, stayed up all night, acted crazy, and had a fucking blast.  It was awesome.

I remembered the time that we and some others had stayed up all night housesitting at my buddy’s place.  We played two-color Uno (which was more exciting than you might think), listened to dorky pop music, and drank brews.  It was fun just staying in, relaxing, and bonding.

It was difficult to imagine a world without her and accept that she was gone.  There would be no more amazing memories to create.  No more after-midnight laughs and shenanigans.  No more hugs, talks, or tears.  The simple fact was that she was gone and everyone was still here.  And it hurt.

The news spread like wildfire.

Facebook became flooded with pictures, memories, and condolences.  Friends, family, and loved ones came together to share their grief and support one another.  Her absence brought with it a tangible element of sadness that made the air feel a little heavier.  It even rained the day I heard the news.

If you’ve ever lost someone, you know just how hard it is.  The entire situation was shitty.  It was difficult for many, myself included, to process the event, handle the pain, and continue living normally.

Some tension arose between those who had loved her from different walks of life.  Rumors and speculations manifested.  People wrestled for the attention of those most closely affected and fought for a leading role in her life story.

All of the personal and social ramifications of her death were confusing and there were way too many questions.  How and why did this happen?  How do I comfort my friends?  How do I share her memory and express my grief?  Where was she now?  These questions were difficult, if not impossible, to answer.

A few weeks after she passed away, a memorial was held at a beautiful church.

Masses of people attended.  There was singing, tender speeches, and lots of tears.  I think I went through a billion tissues (pretty sure at least).  It brought everyone together who had loved or known her, even if it was just from a distant memory or a kind word.  People were able to say their goodbyes and share their memories of her.  A balloon release followed the procession and brought formal closure to the event.  The balloons wisped and danced around in the air; ascending to the heavens where they were gently and welcomely received.

As of this writing, it’s been over a month and a half since her passing.

I miss her dearly.

Life will never be the same for many of those who had shared parts of themselves with her.  The pain of loss continues to resonate.  Even when the emotional wound heals, there will always be a scar.

I do not think we should despair, however.  Yes, we must grieve, but I believe there is hope.  Her death doesn’t mean the end to her memory.  I do not believe it means the end to her love.  As the story of her life closes, so it becomes a new chapter in the lives of all those who survive her.  Her love and spirit lives on, even if it’s only in our hearts, and reminds us of so many truths we too often forget.

We’re reminded not to take life or people for granted.

At any moment, one or the other could be gone.

We always envision our loved ones playing integral roles in our lives for as long as we can conceive.  We assume that we and those we know will experience tomorrow, next week, and next year.  We spend tons of time thinking about what’s behind the veil of the future and lose touch with the present.

Losing a loved one reminds us all that life is fragile, and should never be taken for granted.

We’re reminded to love more fiercely, to live more courageously, and to make the most out of each moment we are fortunate enough to be blessed with.  We’re all, after all, sailing into oblivion.  We might as well make the voyage count.

We’re reminded WHY we love someone.

I think it’s easy to lose touch with the reasons why we love who we do.  We interact with those close to us and enjoy the warmth of their company without thinking much about why we appreciate them so much.

When you lose someone, you’re reminded why you loved them in the first place.  You’re reminded of the special role they played in your life, and how they made you a better person.

Suprice was a beautiful soul.  She was immensely loving, insanely selfless, and more empathetic and caring than I could ever hope to be.  She was quirky and funny.  She knew how to light up a room, bring energy into any environment, and create an atmosphere of acceptance and fun.

When I look back on her life, I remember all the times she made me laugh.  The times she put up with my loud voice.  The times she made mistakes but came out stronger in the end.

It’s easy to overlook the reasons why we love who we do.  We should all take some more time to remember them.

We’re reminded that death is a difficult subject.

For as long as humans have possessed consciousness, they’ve wondered what happens after they die.  Every culture throughout history has had different interpretations, and it’s still impossible to say.  Many people have different views on death and it can be challenging to gauge what is or isn’t appropriate to say.

With loss comes the reminder that death is a difficult subject and must be handled delicately. Everyone processes grief differently, and precautions must be taken to mitigate the stress caused to all those left picking up the pieces.  That being said, I found the social and cultural post-mortem dynamics interesting and confusing at times.

Certain elements of her life, I felt, were almost entirely neglected.  Her story became one of pure positivity, and I felt that this approach only painted a half picture of who she was.

She wasn’t perfect.  She made mistakes.  She faced challenges in her life and relationships.  She exhibited behaviors and personality traits that were not always beneficial to her.  It’s okay and it didn’t detract from her awesomeness.

We’re all flawed to some degree.  It’s an innate part of being human.  When these flaws get ignored or forgotten, superficial merits begin to amplify.  Positivity becomes a coping mechanism rather than a healthy state of mind.  People struggle to manage their reactions and emotions, and have difficulty moving forward.

Let’s do ourselves a favor and practice gentle acceptance towards the reality that we, and everyone we know, have deficiencies of varying types and degrees.  Let’s acknowledge the beauty as well as the darkness that lies within each of us.  Let’s remember someone for who they truly were, flaws and all.  It’s through a willingness to talk about challenging topics that we expand our perspectives, enrich our communication, and enhance our connections.

And lastly,

We’re reminded that life is a crazy adventure.

Enjoy it – you never know what might unfold.


Artwork by Nolan Ruiz | Instagram @nols04

Thank you Suprice, for making your way into my life.  You made me a better person, and I’ll be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to know you.  I miss you so much and I’ll always cherish our memories.  You were a beacon of light on this earth, and it’s going to be hard continuing on without you.  I love you, and hope that your new journey is just as exciting as your last.

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  1. Kamala

    I read it and all I could think was WOW! That it is so good and what a hell of a writer you are! Thank younger making thoughts come to life!

    • Sherri B.

      He has always been a good writer…since the 4th grade! Michael is naturally talented with his words whether spoken or written. I am VERY proud of how he expresses himself and how his inspired thoughts reflect so beautifully in his writings.

  2. Sherri B.

    This was a very touching article. I really felt your heart and I know that Suprice is smiling on you! You have really shown how you can write and that you are passionate about it, especially when you pick a topic that you are interested in. GOOD JOB MICHAEL! 🙂

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