My ears are ringing from the screams coming from above. They were at it again. My sister and my dad had engaged in another combat of words most likely about her future after graduating from high school. The first child graduating put an immense amount of worry on my parents, and I was less than enthusiastic about how they would react to me leaving in four years. They only resolution I could make was to sit and wait until silence takes over, but I never expected the silence to be as abrupt. At the time, the thought never crossed my mind that bad news was dominating the atmosphere. The look across my dad’s face though still haunts me, and brings tears to my eyes. I could see the pain behind his eyes, and I could feel his saddened heart in saying words that should never be placed together, “Honey, we need to talk.” There was no way to prepare myself for the shattering of my heart. I was told that someone who was a big part of my childhood had passed away. My dad struggled with saying the words, “he committed suicide,” and when the words resonated with me, I was left in state of shock. I needed space.
My dad had elaborated on the loss of this young man because the terror of losing one of his own children had repeatedly run through his mind. I come to find that it was my sister who was the first one to notify my dad. Then the realization hit me, my sister was the same age as the person we lost. It could have easily been her, and my family would have been none the wiser of how to handle the situation. The tears streamed down my faces faster than I could control. I was devastated that my life was no longer put together in a neat orderly fashion. I became broken and confused. Throughout the rest of my high school years, I am disheartened in watching other kids around my age feel that their life is not worth living anymore.
Even with all the darkness that surrounds suicide, I am grateful for having known the person who left us. He taught me and continues to teach me values that are necessary for my morality. He taught me the value or family. As I watched, his family rebounded with a heart on fire for saving teenagers from themselves. High school students tend to be their own worst enemies, and without knowing that people unconditionally love you, it is easily to spiral downward. My family locked into each other by having a new interest in spending more time together. He taught me to be a leader. He was one of people I knew that was older than me, and I always looked to them for guidance. He never failed me in the time I knew him, and I hope I have been able to affect those younger than me in a way that resembles him: kind, fun loving, and brilliant. Without traits like these I would not be graduating knowing that I am a part of the honors program next fall. I would never have been a leader of a community at my high school, and I would lack confidence. This story lives on as a key moment of defining my character.
So, here I sit, towards the end of my senior year. I am the one graduating, and I remember the outstanding qualities of that senior man I knew. I look back at that tragedy knowing that he never realized how he affected me or how much I respected everything he did. He changed me to see the love of a support team that includes family of friends, to be a leader of those below me, and to accomplish more than I can imagine. I remember this story so vividly because as a fifteen-year-old freshman girl I did not recognize my worth or believe people could care for me. I am proud to say that I am complete changed, and I owe it to this spark. So, yes, the loss of his life remains a tragedy, but this is because his life was lived victoriously.