She killed herself. I don’t know exactly what pushed her over the edge. I don’t know what she was thinking about when she did it or whether she regretted her choice as the overdose coursed through her. I don’t know what will happen to her daughter, whom I never got the chance to meet. I don’t know how many people will think of her after these first couple of days – just another flower not built for the cold fronts of life. All I know is, like so much of my youth and so many of the opportunities I could have had, she’s gone.

She and I were cool but hardly close. I met her through her best friend, Lindsey, a girl I was extremely close to. Eventually, she started talking to my best friend, Bryan, and for a while the four of us hung out frequently. I guess her connection to such important people in my past is why her death is so sad. I picture some of these teenage memories now and it’s unreal to think that almost a decade later Lindsey has two kids and a man that basically won’t let her talk to me; Bryan is a former soldier/ex-con who is in a long term, committed relationship; I’m starting my ninth year in prison; and of course she is dead.

I have several family members in their 60s to whom I feel I owe an enormous debt. I’d honestly give a limb to have my parents alive when I get out. She was two years younger than me and her death reminds me of just how strong the possibility is that I’ll never get the chance to talk to some, if not all, of my relatives again without a time limit or hug them without being monitored. People die everyday at the hands of fate, but many relationships die at our own hands well before fate intervenes.

Everytime somebody leaves my life, whether from death or by choice, I know it’s my fault. Because I wasn’t strong or smart enough to refrain from crime, I forced my loved ones to battle an unpredictable and often cruel world alone. I have no one but myself to blame when they disappear; and that sucks.

Keep boxing temptation and chasing your dreams.

In memory of Cashaila “Put” Beamon: Your struggle is over now sweetheart. I hope you’ve found peace. You did not live in vain and you will not be forgotten.