Death. A single word that, much like love, evokes many reactions when it’s introduced into your life. It’s interesting when someone you knew or, God forbid, loved dies. All the stages people go through, all the stages you go through. Some grieve immediately or, if you’re like me, you hold it in and press it down and hope the acceptance part comes soon.
You could guess that someone in my life has recently passed away, it was a teacher. Not just any teacher though…he was a jedi, a master, a friend, a theologian, and a great mentor. He was loved throughout our campus and this tragedy has blown everyone back, including yours truly. I was his T.A. and he was the coolest guy you could ever know, funny, witty, quick, he always kept people of their toes. Never a dull moment. He was too young and I don’t think I can ever really understand why someone with so much in front of them could be taken at a time like this?
I’ve always lived by the idea that when it’s your time to go it means you’ve done all you can in this world, but I don’t know anymore… This guy was head of the theology department (at my high school, I should clarify that this teacher is from high school not college), and had a child who was only starting to grow up. To take a father…there was more for him to do here, so much more and we was taken at his prime. The good die young, it’s true. I thought may be if I knew the cause of death it would make me feel better, but I don’t want to know. I don’t want to go to the memorial service, I don’t want to know that he is really gone.
If I see him as just a picture and no longer standing as one of us in that auditorium then it will become real. His death will be final and that will be the last memory I have of him. The last time I saw him he was at graduation. That’s the final image I want to have of him. Smiling and full of life right in front of my eyes, not some picture being projected in front of a crowded gym as people talk about all the good times they had with him. In my head, he’s still alive. I’d like to keep it that way. I don’t want to think about all the incoming freshmen who will never know his graces or jokes. I don’t want to think about someone else teaching in his classroom. I don’t want to think it.
It’s crazy how death can make you feel alive. How it can snap you back into reality even though you never noticed you were out of it. How you build this world around you where you feel safe and like nothing can disturb and to have news like this rip that safety blanket right off of you.
A year ago, we had another teacher lose their life at my school and when I got the news I thought it was a sick joke. It wasn’t possible I had just seen her walking down the hall and smiling at me just yesterday. It wasn’t real. But this time, I froze. I got a text and I checked Facebook to see if it’s real. I thought maybe he was just sick or it was someone in his family but… I spent two hours looking through what others had said on a post so I could add my support but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t conjure up the words to describe what I was feeling. I couldn’t write anything that would match the others. I couldn’t write away the pain. I decided to leave it alone. I didn’t like anyone’s status or say anything pertaining to the situation or else I would know for sure it was real.
Do you think people know it’s going to be their last day? Do you think their loved one will know that something bad is going to happen to them that day? Does the victim wake up with a sudden appreciation for life or is it just another day. Do they have a feeling that this will be the last time they see anything or anyone from their family? Are they careful not to say the wrong thing so they have no regrets? When it happens do you think the one who loves the person the most can feel like? Like a knife just pierced their heart. Does color drain from life instantly? Do they have a sudden urge to call the victim and when they don’t get an answer do they panic? What happens after you know your loved one is dead?
Life goes on.
As much as we wish it would stop for a second so we can catch our breath, it continues and forces us to live. The route I took is denial. I’m denying the facts because believing it will just hurt too much but I know one day I’m just going to accept it. I know I’m going to have to keep pushing on. Because life doesn’t stop for anyone and it isn’t fair to anyone either. You just never know when you will see someone for the last time and when a memory becomes a memory.
RIP B. D.
This may seem a little much for a teacher but, honestly, it’s for all the future people who are going to interact with me but I won’t be able to interact with ever again. It’s for the future because it doesn’t stop here. And it’s for when people will be asking the same questions about me.