Seven years ago, I sat in math class thinking it would be a normal day in Algebra 3. I was very wrong.
Seven years ago, a friend whispered me the scary and surreal news while I was closing my locker. She wasn’t sure if it were true or not. I hoped and prayed for the latter.
Seven years ago, I found out my friend took his own life in our high school bathroom.
Seven years ago, I fell to the high school hallway floor. Second floor. Next to Ms. Coan. News confirmed. My wobbly legs tried to stay strong, but they couldn’t manage to do it.
Seven years ago today, my seventeen year old innocence was stripped away.
Seven years ago, I stopped thinking about ACT scores and cheerleading practice and the school dance and my Chemistry project due the next day.
Seven years ago, I began a deep sleep and sadness that seems to trickle on for days, weeks, months.
Seven years ago, no one had the words to say. I definitely didn’t have the words to say.
Seven years ago, I felt empty.
Seven years ago, I couldn’t stop asking the question why.
Seven years ago on February 1, 2006 is one of the most vivid days of my life. At the same time, it’s one of those days where I can’t seem to piece together each intricate detail of the day because they all seem to mush together. One of my best friends, Jeff, committed suicide during our junior year of high school.
Today I am most certainly thankful that it’s not seven years ago. It’s really encouraging to look back on the last seven years and see how I’ve grown and changed. Seven years ago today, I felt like I had tunnel vision – I couldn’t picture how I could move past those hours. I hope and pray no one – especially no child or teenager – has to go through something this traumatic.
If you’ve ever been in a difficult or painful situation, I recommend reading this 10 Tips for Overcoming blog post. The tip that resonates the most with me today is #7:
7. Don’t “get over” it, but grow:
You won’t wake up one day and then SNAP* everything is back to normal. You won’t immediately just feel happy and wonderful and all thoughts of sadness will disappear. Instead of pushing yourself to “get over” what happened, channel that energy into personal growth. This is a process, not a quick fix.
My life doesn’t revolve around what happened on February 1, 2006. The key shift in my mindset. The lesson learned through this horrible experience is that rather than being ruled by feelings of hurt, pain, sadness and anger – I have the opportunity to choose otherwise. I instead choose to be ruled by peace. Rather than living life in the past, I choose to embrace where I’m at today – and tell everyone in my life just how much they mean to me. A key step for me to overcome this huge moment in life was trusting that I was going to be okay.
I hope you have a lovely weekend! If you ever want to talk about a similar experience, I’d love to talk if you ever need/want to. [firstname.lastname@example.org].