Today I received devastating news that a peer of mine was killed in a fatal train accident.
He was 16.
Granted, I don’t have many memories with him. The few times I encountered him, he was pulling a prank or making some joke about Victoria’s Secret fitting rooms. He made everyone laugh. I can’t think of one time I saw him where he wasn’t smiling, and I often found myself laughing too.
He, along with his other friends and his girlfriend, was walking along the train tracks near their neighborhood. I think they were going to take pictures together, maybe to post on Instagram. He loved taking pictures. I know that for sure. And then, somehow, he was hit. The entire community has been raising awareness and praying for his family. It is time like these were I marvel at the resilience of the human spirit and the compassion we have for one another.
Now, I find myself blankly staring at the wall and even this computer screen as I write this post. My eyes will blur and I’ll lose focus of what I’ve been writing. Because, even though I wasn’t close friends with him, I feel like someone has shot a cannonball into my chest and there is this gaping hole that’s making it hard to breathe.
It’s not fair that he was only 16. He hadn’t gone to prom yet. He hadn’t experienced the dreaded junior year of high school. He hadn’t graduated yet, or been a senior. He hadn’t gone to college, or even possibly gotten a sports scholarship because we all knew he was talented. He hadn’t gotten married, or had children. He was just a kid. He didn’t have the time to do anything that he probably dreamed about.
I wonder how his family feels. I say that I wonder, because I know that I will never be able to possibly imagine what they feel like. I wonder how his girlfriend feels and how she will continue to be with the experience of seeing her boyfriend die. I wonder how his friends feel. I wonder how his teachers feel.
I wonder why something like this had to happen to him.
I always see stories like this in the news. They’re tragic, and of course I feel sad. But there’s always a detached feeling that we have whenever we read about deaths of people we’ve never met in towns we’ve never heard of. It doesn’t seem so real until it happens to someone close to you. We need to treat every day like it’s our last day with someone, and make sure that every single second isn’t wasted. We never realize how precious life is with our loved ones until it is taken away.
Wherever you are, I hope you know that we all miss you. Rest in peace. We won’t forget.