People react differently to different situations. Some laugh, some cry, others move on and become stronger. This is no different when one of your friends or someone you love passes away. Hopefully, people only go through this two or three times in their entire lives. Unfortunately, I have gone through this many times in my life. This is why I believe when one person passes they leave everlasting footprints on our hearts.
Friends and loved ones are nothing to take for granted. When my grandfather passed away when I was five, I remember feeling like the world had been taken away. My grandfather was a huge inspiration to me when I was little, and still remains that way. I have learned so much from him and will take that with me when I start a family of my own. He taught me things like living life with a smile, have fun and live with no regrets, and do everything the way Walker Texas Ranger would. Losing my grandfather was one of the hardest things I have ever been through, but losing two friends is just as bad.
I had just graduated high school and baseball season was coming to a close. I was getting ready to go hangout with one of my friends when I found out my friend, Jeremy, committed suicide. If you have never gone through someone committing suicide, it is completely different than someone who dies of cancer or car accident. There are all these different emotions and stages I went through. Sadness, anger, confusion were just some of these emotions. Sadness because the person is no longer alive, anger because you could not prevent it, confusion because Jeremy was the kid that I never expected to take his own life. His smile could light up a room, his athletic ability sparked his team’s success, and his presence in the room could be felt by everyone. This happened two years ago and there is not one day that goes by that I think about Jeremy. Jeremy was a good kid and a good friend. Jeremy was a good friend, but one of the hardest phone calls that I have ever received was when I found out that Zack Thomas died.
This week will mark the one year anniversary of Zack’s death. Zack was one of the first people that I met at Grand View College. He said that he was going to “take me under his wing.” He was going to introduce me to people throughout campus since I was just a little freshman trying to figure out the campus. Zack was the kid that everyone liked; everyone enjoyed to be around, and was the life of the party. When my friend, Annie, called me on a Saturday night I was expecting the usual, “Hey what are you doing tonight?” Instead I got Zack was killed in a car accident. I remember being at my friends place in Boone and just crying on my phone to her, and then calling my mom and not saying anything to her, just crying and telling her what happened. Zack’s death has been one of the hardest for me to deal with.
Everywhere on campus there are reminders of Zack. There is the house on Boyd Street with the red GVC flag with the black stripe across it, the window decals with Live, Laugh, and Love for ZT on the back windshields of cars, and the wristbands that everyone wears in memory of him. It is nice with all the reminders around campus but still makes it hard to cope with the loss of him, and with the one year anniversary of his death coming up, it is going to make it that much harder.
With all the death and sorrow I have experienced it has made me take nothing for granted, and love the people I have in my life. Anything can happen at anytime, and something that is close and loving can be taken away. Live life to the fullest and love everyone that you have around you.
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