Last year, I was the leader of two clubs, Inklings and the Teen Awareness Group. Last year, I also fully grew into who I am now and who I will remain for the rest of my life — a person I am very proud to be.
There were three people in these organizations who helped me the most in becoming the person I am today. I owe them more than can be expressed with words, despite my love of writing.
One of them, M.E. Fulco, has been through everything with me throughout my four years of high school. I mean that literally — she was my teacher every single year and my adviser for two years, and she will remain one of my close friends for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately, the other two wonderful people who so shaped the person I’ve become, Chris Lemone and Cody Thomas, recently passed away, within a few short months of each other.
So many people were affected by these ridiculously untimely deaths; I know that I’m not alone in grieving them, and I know that my feelings of loss are no more important than anyone else’s. However, having also been a leader of the two clubs that these amazing men headed, I feel pressure to be able to make sense of it. But the more I try, the more I realize that there is no sense to be made.
So instead, I’ve tried so cringingly hard to find something, anything, a little less negative about this incredibly dark experience. Somehow, I managed to sculpt together two things:
ONE is how lucky I am to have known these people at all, to have people in my life who were so much a part of me that they left a hole when they left. I also realized that this hole is filled with the part of me that formed from being around their influential presences for so long — like the part of me that tries to makes others proud, like Cody always did and the part of me that tells it like it is, to myself and others, like Chris always did.
TWO is how lucky I am to be alive, to be here in this moment. Nothing is as bad as it first appears if you can constantly remind yourself that you’re breathing — that you can see the beautiful sky, smell the fresh air, taste cold mint chocolate chip ice cream, feel someone’s hand in yours and hear your friends laugh.
And I know, I know that that doesn’t make it suck any less. It will always suck. There is nothing that can be done about the fact that it sucks besides accepting that it does.
However, if there is anything to take away from this, it is that everyday we should take time to show gratitude and appreciation for the people in our lives that we love and who love us, including ourselves.