Seven years ago I lost a friend due to a car accident. Jen and I had made plans two day prior to the accident. We'd get together and hang out for Friday evening. I was to meet her at her home and we'd decide what to do from there. The day after we'd made our plans, another friend of mine called up and told me that him and a group were going downtown to see a film the following night, which was the night I had plans with Jen. I said I'd go because the film was exactly the type I liked. It was too late to call Jen after that, so I figured I'd call her the next day. Jen was in a program for troubled teens, so during the schoolday she wasn't around the main building. The only times I saw her was out of school hours. For whatever reason I didn't call her and cancel our plans. I don't know why I didn't call her, but I completely blew her off. I went downtown and saw the film with my friend and the others, then on our way back home I said I was supposed to hang out with Jen that night. We called her to see what she was up to, if she wanted to get together still. Her sister (who didn't live at home but was there at that time) answered and said there had been an accident. She didn't know what had happened or Jen's situation, just that they had taken her to the hospital. I don't know how much time passed following that. I remember calling home at like 12:30am and telling my Mom what had happened, but I didn't go home until very late. Me and the others called the hospitals to ask if she was there, and we drove to our area's police station and they said they couldn't give any information out to us. As we drove up to Jen's house there was a police car parked outside, and that's when I knew she was gone. The police officer was walking back to his car as we were walking to the house, and one of my friends asked him if Jen was OK. He said he couldn't tell us anything, that we'd have to ask Jen's mother. Jen had gone out with a group of people, and while they were out the guy driving the car she was in decided to try to race the other car out that was with them. He sped along the side of the road to try to pass the other car but his vehicle hit a deep pothole and the car ended up flipping several times before smashing into a telephone pole. He had too many people in the car so Jen had had no seatbelt. Had I not blown off our plans she would have either not gone out with them at all, or I would have been in the car with them (likely without a seatbelt too). I know that what happened wasn't my fault and I couldn't have anticipated what was going to happen, but I can't stop feeling guilt over it. The small decisions you make in your life, like either going out with one friend or another, can have such drastic consequences for you or others. Learning that rattled me a lot. It's been 7 years and I still don't know how to respond to the entire situation. Jen was a good friend. She had a lot of problems in her life, but we felt safe with eachother. I cared about her a lot, and I know she cared for me back. I think about her and I just want to tell her I'm sorry, even though I know I couldn't have known. I think seeing her in the coffin at the funeral was the moment when I shut down emotionally. I can recall sitting in the back of a car as we were leaving the funeral home, and I felt like every part of me was retreating out of the world and deep into my mind, hiding itself. It wasn't a daze or shock because I was aware of what was happening, but it was like I removed who I was from the world at that moment and all that remained was an echo of what I once was.