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It would seem insensitive to think that I am privileged enough to be alive today after hearing about the death of one of my best friends from high school, but it’s merely true. This is one person who helped to make high school a better place for me, so it’s really sad to hear about his passing. He was only 21 years old. So young. He was probably filled with dreams and hopes and couldn’t wait to start his future but unfortunately, he didn’t.
Back in high school, it would never occur to me that any of my friends would have been gone so soon. If any at all, I was probably the most pessimistic and may have thought that I wouldn’t make it past my 20th birthday but I did. Life may have gone a little differently had I still been in my childhood home. But I’m still alive and here I am being able to describe life today in sort of a better narrative than I had imagined.
Out of high school, I lost friends and school mates and I lost this one friend. The last time I saw him was at our high school graduation. And we barely had a chance to say good bye. I heard he had also moved out of town and was living in another part of the island so that created the distance between us, that lasted for the next five years and now, forever.
How I feel about death changes with the loss of every special person in my life. I have been fortunate enough to have not lost many loved ones in my short life. But even from this loss, I have learned that life is unpredictable and no one lives forever. Would it have been less shocking if he had been much older? Would it have been less shocking if it was another 20 years that I hadn’t seen or heard from him? Maybe not. I tend to feel that emotions only need memory to flourish. Five years and I still feel that he should not have to die that young, five years and I still feel that I’ve lost a good friend.
Whether in an accident or natural causes, life is fragile. It teaches me to be a little more appreciative day by day. Life is difficult. Life scares us. But death remains a phenomenon.
What this should probably teach us is how important it is to treat everyone equally and fairly. I have learned enough to know that no human is immortal. No human is above any other. We all bleed the same way. At the end of life, we are but the body in which we were allowed to breathe. Still, I can see how sad and damaging it is when we talk about the fragility of life but still have to live with accepting that in some parts of the world gay lives are looked down at. People are killed for the uncontrollable nature of their sexuality. Tortured to death, abandoned by their families and left to be buried by their governments. In some places, burned alive and dumped in shallow graves. These are news stories that aren’t too glorious to put in print, but they still scourge this so called beautiful planet.
Life should mean a lot more than this. We should be able to appreciate life regardless of who we are. No one should have to take their lives or take someone else’s life. No one!
Was I too scared to come out in high school? Be my authentic self and live to freely. Hell yeah! I probably valued my life more than I thought and that of my friends. But I had to lose them to be able to live.
I know my coworker is grieving and losing a loved one must be really painful but at the end of every day, I just wished I had the chance to tell these people and the people now in my life how much I love them. If you are reading this, I love you.
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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