On Monday, a vast amount of students wore black or rasta in memory of a fellow peer who suddenly died in a biking accident. I remember that day I was sitting at my usual spot at lunch and looked out at the scene of students eating. There was a sea of black on a gloomy day in sunny California. There is an overflowing amount of school pride at our school and the death of one of our own can really bring up some feelings.
I never knew him. I really wasn’t even aware of his existence. He was in my year but I had no idea who he was. However, I saw an overwhelming amount of posts from “I wish we talked more” or “I missed the time we hung out in middle school” to “I never knew you but I saw you sometimes and you seemed cool.” It was a variety of different posts expressing their own condolences.
That week my English teacher had us do one of those assignments where we just idly write down thoughts to a question. This time, it was just the topic of death. Well, I had a series of loss posts which ended on my own loss. Death of any kind can leave you with a great amount of emotion or just none. My teacher talked about how people all grieve in different ways. Some would be bawling, others have stoic expressions.
I’ve had the not so lovely memories of experiencing deaths. The first two were the death of my grandmother and cousin. My cousin passed December 5th, 2008 and my grandmother passed the next day. Nowadays, I feel nothing but regret for that time. I was about 10 when it occurred and if I could go back in time I’d beat my 10 year old self up. This was the experience that provoked around no emotion. Maybe because it was inevitable after long periods of time in the hospital. They both died from cancer, my grandma at the age of 75 and my cousin at the age of 14. I can’t even remember what I was thinking back then and I can’t even believe that didn’t do anything. I rarely visited my grandma and didn’t even get a chance to visit my cousin when she was back in the hospital. I blame myself because I hated hospitals (still do) and would refuse to want to go. Then when they were gone, I just said, “Oh.” Unleash the Dragon mentioned his own experience that after all that time seeing them losing strength, you don’t know what to feel. Am I grieving right now? Is that what’s supposed to be happening? Is that the position I’m in at this moment? Do I feel sad? The emotions then become delayed. I have bawled tears this year for the deaths that occurred 6 years ago. The death of a student at our school reminded me of the death of my cousin when she was a freshman at the very school I attend now. As I grow older and accomplish achievements, I come to a realization that they aren’t here to see me right now. And I wasn’t there to savor the last moments. And now I become filled with regret.
The other side is an overwhelming amount of emotions. After the horrible delayed grieving for my cousin and grandma, I had a different reaction to the death of my grandfather last December. His death was not prolonged, it was a shock. He was the only death is an accident regarding an overturned bus driving him back from the casino. He takes the bus all the time and he became the one casualty, a part of the “1 dead and 22 wounded.” He was still alive when I received the phone call on a Thursday. The hospital was about an hour away and I didn’t get to go see him that night. But around 11, I woke up from my usual nap to find a Facebook post about his death. And I cried for about two hours that night. The next day was the last day before Winter break and it was a long and difficult day. I remember right when I got out of my friend’s car and walked up the my house, I immediately broke into tears. I would say for the next week I would find myself with random fits of crying. Completely different from my first experiences.
The two reactions become realization and shock. The first being an initial time of “oh okay” turning into realization of what the death really means. The latter is immediate shock that an overwhelming overflow from that. Those are the two words that I have associated with coping with deaths. But even with all of these horribly horrible mush of emotions, we can’t do much anymore. All we can do is continue to remember and keep them in our memories.