I didn’t know how to react when I heard the news. A small piece of my humanity had shattered into pieces. Dozens of questions filled up my mind. This has gotta be a prank of some kind right? What if she is truly no more? I saw this obituary spreading like wildfire through Snapchat. Every JC student posted the obituary to their stories with a simple “RIP, You will be missed.” 

Me and my mom were watching The Godfather for the millionth time or so, but when I saw my friend’s post surrounding this obituary, I ran out of the living room and went outside to my backyard. I was staring at the sky while sitting down on the warm steps. All of a sudden my vision went cloudy. I rubbed my eyes only to feel tears falling nonstop, sprinkling the brick steps and my clothes. I am not a religious person but all I wanted to do at that moment was to scream “Why did you take her God?” 

She was the best thing to ever happen to this school. Her voice was truly beautiful and you could hear “Ayo what’s poppin James Clemens”, her signature catchphrase. Honestly, that phrase made me want to listen to the announcements. It was as if the dull and boring announcements were given a fresh and vibrant sense of order that commanded the attention of every student in the building. In drama, she had established a reputation of high stature due to her amazing voice and acting skills. Simply put, she could brighten up any room with her delightful soothing voice. She enjoyed singing very much. I still remember occasions where she would start playing her ukulele for extra credit and make an improv song using vocabulary words. None of my classmates minded this, we enjoyed her singing and the distraction she provided from our stressful lifestyles as students. 

Her personality was incredibly radiant to all students. She had this weird sense of humor and kindness mix that made herself stand out among the mass. I used to be quite a loner as a freshman and she would often joke around with me and others. She is the reason I made an effort to become more extroverted. She could talk to anybody and not have a dull conversation. I was dumbfounded by how kind and respectful she was to fellow students and teachers. Her personality coupled with her voice and acting made her a celebrity. Her Snapchat videos were such a joy, unlike other students she wouldn’t post anything depressing. Snapchat skits of hers would make me and my friends laugh. On occasions, she would play her ukulele and sing songs that could be comparable to a Disney princess. She had this really shofty android phone, but she never complained. The unlikable video quality could not diminish her energy. Often, me and her would play this bottle flipping game. Her phone would lag and my relatively new phone would smoothly play the game. It did not bother her, she was fine owning this cheap phone and I appreciated that aspect of her. Never take things for granted, she told me once.

Over the next 3 years of high school, I would make small conversation with her but slowly that little conversation changed to a simple hi or hello in the highways. I mean classes were getting tougher and she was active in many different clubs, so I never blamed her.

Like most people in my grade who truly admired and loved her as a kind human being, a grieving process ensued. I couldn’t focus on my job causing trouble in the workplace. My head would throb while making a burger from all the tears uncontrollably falling. It was the day after I saw her obituary that the cause behind her death was revealed. It was suicide. This worsened the emotional impact on me. I couldn’t help but think I could have helped her in some way. I took her for granted, I always thought she was a happy individual. Maybe a phone call, or a simple text checking up on her. For the first time in a long time, I prayed. It was a weird feeling but I felt it was needed for my mental sanity. “God, please take care of her. That is my only wish. When I come, I will play another round of that bottle flipping game with her.”

I entered the funeral home with a close friend of mine. Immediately the mood diminished into one dreary and bleak. Her parents were next to the casket. Whispers of “Please let me know if you need something” were often mentioned to the parents. I was shaking, being so near to the casket. I hugged the mother and the father in the shaky state. Sweat and tears mixed together throughout the funeral. Towards the end, we sang a few songs from her favorite artists like Adele. The entire procession was truly incredible, my friends coddled each other when one started crying. Unpublished songs of hers were playing and I couldn’t handle my emotions. ”Wherever she is right now, she’s in good hands.” the pastor said. 

A massive social media presence started to appear. Suicide awareness was not a heavy topic in the school, but when this tragedy occured, the school understood that they needed to place more of a focus on students and their mental sanity. Fellow students offered phone numbers to anyone in need of advice or cheering up, and a couple posted the hotline for the National Suicide Prevention. I, myself, a grumpy student have made some personality changes. I try to talk to my classmates with kindness and my teachers as well. I slipped back into my non religious self but I still pretend to talk to her. I know she’s somewhere more pleasant, drinking a mojito and strumming her lively ukulele.

Today marks her 18th birthday.

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