It’s hard for me to write this. It’s hard for me to find words to accurately describe and depict what this world is like now that you’re gone. What it was like the day we found out.
I know it probably seems weird. It’s weird that I would be the one to write this. I mean after all, I never met him. So how could I miss him? I don’t have an answer to that but I can tell you this: oh, how I miss him.
And if I miss him, it’s hard to fathom how much his family and friends miss him. And if I love him, which I truly, truly do, it’s nearly impossible to comprehend how much they all love him. The hardest thing to understand, though, is how someone we love so deeply, never knew just how deep that love for him was. And now that he’s gone, all we can do is love each other the way we wished we would have loved him while he was here.
Now this isn’t to say that it’s our fault that we lost him. It’s not his fault, nor ours. It’s not anyone’s fault. No one is to blame, and blaming ourselves or him only multiplies the grief we all feel over this loss. But a tragedy like this certainly puts into perspective just how fragile our lives are and just how critical it is to love each other and express that love to the strongest degree.
I don’t know his whole story. I don’t know the pain he felt. But I do know how captivating depression is. I know how all-consuming it becomes. I know the suffocating feeling. The way it feels like no matter how loud you scream, no one can hear you. It’s crazy how well we may know that struggle and yet we are completely oblivious that other people are fighting the same battle. And even if we are aware that there is a battle at their hands, we never seem to know the extent to which the war is being waged.
And for this, I also grieve. I grieve that I didn’t see it. I grieve that I didn’t see you or your pain. I can’t help but wonder if I would have reached out, if you would still be here. Oh gosh, how I wish you were still here. And my friend, I am not alone in this desperate wish. You are oh so dearly missed.
I can’t go back and tell you how loved you are. I can’t go back and be there for you. I can’t, no matter how much I wish I could. But what I can do is never forget you. What I can do is live out the part of your life for you, that you never got to. Your body may have passed but your joyful spirit will live on in our hearts forever.
I don’t know if you saw it but I know I felt you there. That night, in the chapel, where we all came to celebrate you. If only you knew, how celebrated you were.
It was a Monday morning, that day we all found out. The dean of our university sent out an email to all of us, letting us know that we lost you. I don’t know if you heard it but we all did. The deafening silence that covered all of campus. The sound of the absence of the song that was your life.
Every class I went to, the professors all took time to remember you. They prayed over us and they prayed for you. And we are still praying for you.
Then that evening came. There was a service being held for you at 8pm. I wasn’t going to go.... after all, you were someone I didn’t know. But 3 minutes until 8, I found myself throwing on some shoes and heading straight for the chapel. This strong sensation came over me, it was like I was being pulled. I was being told that I needed to go. I needed you, more than you’ll ever know.
We lit candles for you. We cried for you. We sang for you. And we told stories of you. We shared our love for you. And among all the grieving and pain, it hit me.
I got to meet, you.
How nice it was to meet you. You were just as everyone described: full of joy and love. I wish I could have met the gangly, physical you, but just because that part of you was gone didn’t mean your spirit was.
I wish we could have met face to face. I wish I could have greeted you with a warm embrace. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t. But I know you, because they know you. I know you because they kept you alive. You are still here. We will never let you go. But we need you to know now what we needed you to know that night: you are loved beyond measure and that stands true now and forever.