My friend’s name was Saylor Voris. She was a cheerleader, who was set to make second cheer captain by sophomore year. She had so many friends, was deeply loved by anyone who knew her and a laugh that would make everyone smile.
During the second week of her sophomore year, Saylor found out she had cancer and with that her life changed completely.
Thankfully, her amazing community became an extension of her support system. (She even got to meet some amazing people, like Britney Spears and Debby Ryan.)
But, this, this is the story of how Saylor and I became friends.
It was November 1st, 2013, the day after Halloween. My mom, one of my friends and I went to the hospital to visit Saylor.
As soon as I found out that someone from my school had cancer, I wanted to do something to help brighten her day. I ended up at a Build-A-Bear and made about 8 bears — one made just for Saylor.
Saylor was beautiful and so sweet from the minute we met.
After that first visit, my mom and I would go see Saylor at the hospital all the time. During holidays we would bring different decorations and taking Polaroid pictures became our thing.
On Valentine’s Day 2014, Saylor got the bone marrow transplant she had been waiting for. The procedure was successful and with it Saylor was looking at being able to come back to school the following year.
Over the summer, Saylor and I hung out a lot. She didn’t have to go back to the hospital as much and we took advantage of it. We went to an Angels baseball game, watched movies at a fancy movie theater and she got to have her first sleepover since being released from the hospital!
That summer we really bonded.
In order to keep her body healthy, Saylor still had to take many drugs. During this time she also had other health problems that came up — she became a little puffy from the steroids she was on and she broke or fractured bones easily.
All that being said, Saylor still managed to go back to school for a little bit her junior year. She had an amazing 17th birthday party and many other parties for every celebration you could think of.
The last time I saw Saylor was when my mom and I went to her house for lunch. She told me that she didn’t feel well and I figured she wanted to rest, so I suggested we leave.
If I knew then that that would be the last time I saw Saylor, I would have never left. I would have stayed for as long as I could — to talk with her, to watch Netflix, to paint, to laugh. I would have stayed just to have fun and be with her.
During Spring Break 2015, Saylor was admitted to the hospital again.
My mom visited her a lot while I was in school, so one day I texted Saylor asking if I could come over to the hospital to hang out as well. She replied saying that they were planning on being back home that Friday. She said we could hang out when she was back.
True to her word, Friday came around and Saylor was home. Not two days later, Saylor was rushed back to the hospital. She had an infection in her legs and it wasn’t looking good. My mom even got a text from Saylor’s mom saying that she didn’t think she would make it.
When my mom came into my room and told me, I couldn’t believe it.
My heart stopped. I broke down right there on my bed. The tears wouldn’t stop streaming down my face. All I kept thinking was, “I never gave Saylor the photo album.”
About a month before this, I decided to make a photo album of all the memories me and Saylor had together. I was supposed to give it to her during her senior year.
Then I remembered…I never said goodbye.
All I could think was, “I need to say bye to Saylor, it can’t end like this.” I kept praying and praying, which is when I found God.
He was right by me and He took me into the room where I met Saylor that first time. She was on her bed, and I walked over and gave her a hug. I said, “I love you.”
I’ll never forget what I heard next — Saylor clearly said to me, “I love you.”
After I heard her say that, I opened my eyes and was back in my room with my mom by my side.
The next day at school, I was walking down the hall, about to show my friend a post on Facebook that Saylor’s dad had written — in it he talked about Saylor being back in the hospital.
When I opened his Facebook page I fell to the floor in the middle of the hallway and broke into tears — Saylor had passed away that morning.
Her dad had a new post on his page that said that Saylor had died that morning. As I got back up and looked around, I realized everyone else knew already.
Tears. Frowns. Cries.
I wish I could go back. Go back to all the memories we made together. I wish we were able to do all the things we wanted to do together, like travel to the mountains, dance by the ocean, sing our hearts out to the moon.
These will never happen.
But you know what did happen? The laughs and inside jokes we made up; all the little things we talked about that made life worthwhile.
Most importantly, I met you and for that I am forever grateful.