Her gentle nature and her endearing smile made her popular. Among us friends, she was the simplest yet the loveliest one. We went to school together. We graduated from the same college. It was a joy ride. Until fate struck her down. Out of the blue, my friend was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in her right kidney.

Since that day, we were all hoping for a miracle that the incurable could somehow be cured. Then began the sufferingm — for her and all her loved ones. Endless vials of medicine, prayers, all the psychological support she needed — her kith and kin were doing all they could. How she managed to stich together a grin amid all the pain and suffering, only she knew. But that’s what set her apart. I still find it hard to believe that the one who used to care so much for others was herself bedridden with a life-threatening illness.

Nine agonising months later, she left this world. I know she’s gone to a better place. Even so it’s hard to get by knowing that she’s no longer with us.

Still, I find it hard to accept that she’s gone. Forever. There is not a single day she does not come to my mind. It feels weird that if I call her up, no one will answer on the other side and chatter with me about sweet nothings. She’s right there in her house, I feel, waiting to welcome her friends with open arms, that million-dollar grin on her face.

They say life is a unique blend of happiness and sorrow. There are good moments, and there are bad. There are smiles and there are tears. Failing to grasp the real value of each passing moement, we often take things we have for granted. It’s these trying moments that help us realise that we can never take anything for granted.

I never realised how lucky I was to have a friend like her. How much I would miss her when she would no longer be around!

Though I sobbed till my eyes were red when she left forever, I am yet thankful that I had a chance to befriend such a wonderful person. Though she’s gone, she will forever remain with us in our hearts. What I am most thankful for is the invaluable lesson she’s taught us all: We should enjoy life’s million gifts while we can and be grateful for every single gift, for we never know when they’ll be taken away.