It's been about 3 years since I moved away from Tennessee, and sometimes when I think about it I still get teary-eyed. I think about the pasture, the animals, and all the land we had that I loved so much. I used to ride horses with my best friend, and feed the chickens with my grandpa. I used to love the smell of our ranch; it seems like it's engraved in my mind. I remember the secrets I shared with my best friend since kindergarten, Kaya. We used to giggle at the cute boys who walked by, and race on our horses out by the trail. We told each other everything, and always seemed to be attached at the hip. You rarely saw one of us without the other. We had code-names for people we didn't like, and we had our own diary that we shared with each other. We had tons of inside jokes that no one understood but us, and we were never afraid to act like goofballs in public. We made pinky promises and had sleepovers almost every night.
In March of 2008, my father got a job in Wisconsin and I found out we had to move. I refused to go, for I didn't want to leave my horses, my grandpa, or Kaya. They were all such a big part of my childhood, I never wanted to let them go. That same year, Kaya was diagnosed with leukemia, and I couldn't bare to leave her side. I wanted to fight for her, even though it was her battle, not mine. When Kaya heard the news, she pretended not to be upset, when clearly she was. I felt really bad that I had to leave in her time of need; I felt like the worst best friend ever. On March 22nd, we boarded the plane and headed to Wisconsin. Kaya and I would video chat and call each other a few times a week for months. She'd update me on her condition and how everything was going. Little did she know that she'd only be around for a little while longer.
On April 5th 2009, Kaya died due to her leukemia. Her condition worsened as the months dragged on, yet she always seemed so positive. Now me, being diagnosed with cancer, I reflect on how Kaya was so positive, and through all the treatments I endure, I think of Kaya and fight even harder, because I know that's what she would want me to do. I know she is watching over me, and I want to make her proud. I still think about Tennessee, and how I grew up there since I was 5. My heart is still in Tennessee, and I may move back when I grow up.
My family and I still visit Tennessee every other summer, and my family still owns our ranch. The neighbors happily take care of our animals for us, and make sure the house stays in order. Sometimes I think about how tragic my life can be, but then I smile because I know everything happens for a reason. God wants to make me strong for the future, at least that is what I tell myself. I've learned to smile through the pain, and try to brighten everyone's day. I want to make a difference in the world someday. My home has made me strong, so sometimes it's not so bad to leave your heart at home.