Tragedy

My junior year of high school, I lost one of my good friends to suicide. I remember walking into school that morning and seeing a few of my friends crying. I approached them and asked what happened. After I was told, I began to run down the hallway as if I would find answers to the news I didn’t believe.

I ran into his best friend with tears welling up in my eyes and managed to ask him what he knew. He didn’t know anything. The look of shock and pure terror on his face will forever be embedded in my mind. He turned and ran, and I just sat and stared.

That happened four years ago, but now, as my sister is a junior, they are going through something similar.

One of my sister’s classmates and brother to one of my absolute best friend’s passed away at football practice last night after going into cardiac arrest. It was unexpected, and the school is struggling.

My sister messaged me and told me the school is in bad shape, and she asked if it was like this when my friend died.

What do I tell her? That I remember the tear stained faces of all of the students who knew and loved him? That I watched videos where he spoke daily so I wouldn’t forget his voice? How about the deadening silence that filled my classrooms because my teachers didn’t know how to speak? Or what about staring at his empty seat across from me in our history group because he wasn’t coming back?

The days following my friend’s death are forever embedded in my mind, and I don’t know what to say to my sister.

You get over it. You move on. But you can never forget, and the memories follow you through everything you do.

You remember when you get accepted to college that he won’t read that letter. You remember at graduation that a kid you’ve gone to school with for years isn’t graduating with you. You remember at college that your friend isn’t experiencing new things. You remember when listening to music you both loved or watching TV shows you both liked or when reading a book he told you to read. You remember when the anniversary of loss happens. You can’t forget.

And I don’t know how to help.

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