How I’ve Changed, 10 Years Later

In the world of news, I’m constantly surrounded by death. Unimaginable loss. Children dying. Firefighters being trapped in flames. Mothers killing their babies. Things that bring pain that knows no words.

But today, I have words, for a personal battle I’ve fought for almost 10 years.

We met upon dirt roads, where you can always see the stars. I was so happy then, under the summer sun. He was so happy, too. We shared an endless amount of laughs those summer days. It was a constant dance of laughter and hugs with him. He had a smile that changed everything. For weeks, it was bliss. It was joy. It was beauty.

And then, he was gone.

Just like that. Before I could ever tell him how much his laugh meant.

15 years old. A gunshot to the head. On Thanksgiving.

How?

And more importantly, why?

I’ve spent so many hours asking myself so many questions. What was so bad that you had to end your life so young? How could I have helped? Could I have? How can I help others moving forward? How will I move on? Will my heart ever stop hurting?

My heart did stop hurting, eventually. I felt frozen for a long time. But I finally felt normal again, my pulse beat – while his could not. I heard his laugh in my head. I dreamed of him. He was okay. Then, eventually, so was I.

Your suicide taught me so many things at such a critical time in my life. Love and true friendship are rare, but beautiful things. And we can never forget to tell our loved ones how much they mean. We simply never know. We also don’t know which words could’ve made the difference.

I’ve tried to carry his legacy. I’ve tried to put my heart and soul into all I do, because I know you can’t. I’ve tried to raise awareness of mental illness, suicide, and depression.

I can only hope, 10 years later, it’s been enough.

Never will I forget.

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One response to “How I’ve Changed, 10 Years Later

  1. Margaret Serich

    Dear Lauren,
    I was cleaning out old emails today, and I came across two of yours that I had not responded to, and I felt badly, mostly because I know you were, in a moment, reaching out to your past and sharing what you’d written with someone who had once asked you to write, and I had not reached back. I apologize for my dis-ease of being too busy. Congratulations to you for having found your passion and living it. An acknowledgement to you for letting yourself be affected so deeply by the loss of another. Kudos to you for making the world more informed. I really liked your sentence: “With a journalism degree, I now have a license to ask questions for the rest of my life.” I would say that is strategic positioning for a life well lived. Thank you for having reached out a long time ago. Best to you always,

    Margaret Serich
    AHS, Creative Writing

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