It’s silently crying in the back of your friend’s car because you can’t keep it together any longer. It’s breaking down in the bathroom in between classes on a sunny Friday afternoon.
It’s wheezing on your way to class as you attempt to keep the lump in your throat down.
When death comes too soon, the world keeps going without realizing yours has completely shattered.
It is piecing together the posts online to realize someone close to you has suddenly left this earth, with no explanation as to how or why; you, yourself, are left in pieces. All the old photos of her resurfaced online, dredging up the memories of her always taking care of me with my sister since I was just a baby (or a “little nugget”, as they called me).
Late Thursday night, I began seeing posts about a close friend, so close that I thought of her as another big sister. My own sister’s posts were dark and distraught. I immediately called my mother to find out what exactly had happened to my second big sister.
She had been found dead Wednesday, after a random call had been placed from her phone saying she needed an ambulance. No one knew how she had left us. My first reaction was pretty calm, as the news hadn’t really set in yet. But over the next few hours I fell apart fast.
I continued on with my usual Thursday night, going out with my roommates on the hunt for food, laughing, singing along to the radio, but then suddenly something snapped inside. I started feeling tears running down my cheeks, a hand over my mouth to muffle my moans of mourning.
That night, I ended up in such a state of emotional distress I gave myself a migraine (wonderful, I know). I quickly ate something, took some medicine, including some sleeping pills, and passed out, emotionally and physically exhausted.
The next thing I know, it’s three minutes before my quiz starts all the way across campus. Obviously, I was late. I sheepishly hurried in and took the quiz with my ever-present migraine.
I never mentioned to my professor why I was late. I feel like telling people there’s been a death in the family ends up sounding like an excuse, even though if anyone told me that I would tell them to take all the time in the world until they felt better. It’s just how my brain works, I guess.
I’ve experienced death before; quite often, actually. Usually I shrug it off and keep going. But something was different this time; she had been in my life since I was born. In all the memories of going up to visit my sister in Chicago when I was just a little girl, she was right next to my sister in every one. The more I tried to not think about her, the more the memories came flooding back, and the more the tears came flooding down.
Anytime I was alone, things wouldn’t go so well. “Alone” doesn’t have to mean no one around you; it could mean sitting in class while a professor is showing everyone a video. It’s possible to feel completely alone while surrounded by hundreds of people.
It still doesn’t feel as if she is gone. I keep hoping I’ll wake up from this horrible dream to find out she’s still alive, but I know that’s impossible. Grieving this loss may be painful, but I know I must remember all of these memories of her are actually positive. It’s hard to tell yourself to think positively when someone so sweet and so close to you is ripped out of your life, but it’s something you have to continue to tell yourself.
At the same time, losing her has made me realize not to take anyone for granted and to say “I love you” more often than you would ever think necessary. Let people know how much you love them, how much they mean to you because when they are gone, they are gone.
Follow Angela Garza on Twitter: @angarza15