I know I can. It was a typical January day, with one exception; it was the day the Pope came to St. Louis. My brother and I had tickets to the youth rally, and we were both very excited. It was destined to be an awesome day- or so we thought. The glory and euphoria of the Papal visit quickly faded into a time of incredible pain and sorrow, a time from which I am still emerging. That day. The date was Tuesday, January 26, 1999, and the entire city of St. Louis was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Pope.
The day started with a bus ride to Laclede Landing where thousands of high school students joined together and marched to the Kiel Center where the Papal Youth rally was being held. When the Pope finally arrived at around 7:30 PM, it was absolutely breathtaking. The Holy Father s words covered everything from baseball, and Mark McGwire, to teen suicide. Even though I did not realize it at that moment, his words were about to become a huge part of my life. By the time I got home, my brother had already arrived and was enthusiastically recounting the day s events to my mom, who had obviously been crying.
When he finally stopped carrying on, my mom told me to sit down and then she told me. I will never forget her exact words or even the way she said them. Megan committed suicide today. I stared blankly at her, I knew she had to be lying, she had to be wrong, Megan would never do that. We had been too good of friends for too long, I knew her too well. Megan was always happy, she always had a joke to tell. She had such a bright future, she was an excellent athlete and it seemed as though she succeeded in everything she tried. We played Volleyball together, we were co-captains of the soccer team and we even managed the wrestling team together.
I never imagined the word suicide could even be a part of her vocabulary. That is why I knew there had to be some mistake, my mom had to be wrong. My mom then went on to tell me the details of what happened, but it did not matter, I did not hear her. Even though I was exhausted after a long day, my mom drove me to my friend s house. I still had not cried, we just sat in the car in silence. I knew there had to be a mistake. However, as soon as I saw the tear stained face of my friend, I knew everything was true. That is when the tears came, and I m not quite sure when they stopped. They lasted for hours on end.
The days that followed that day are still a little blurry. I did not go to school; but then again most people did not. Most of Megan s friends got together to make a cross and collages of pictures; however, I could not bring myself to get off the couch. Everyone was nice enough to include me in everything. They put my name on the cross and put tons of pictures of Megan and me in the collages. My phone rang off the hook with people checking to make sure I was OK. Our old soccer coach even flew in from Georgia to help us deal with everything. As the funeral neared, I was suffering from many mixed emotions.
I could not figure out whether to be upset or angry, or what to feel at all. Not only did I have to deal with the loss of a friend, but also I had to deal with the fact that she did it herself. Then came the subject of her parents. I wanted to blame everything on them. It made everything so easy; who else could be blamed Maybe if they had cared just a little bit more, this all could have been prevented. I just did not know what to think. Then came the funeral. The day of the wake, I was totally convinced that I did not need to go. If I never had to see any of our friends ever again, then I simply would not have to deal with everything.
My mom and dad did convince me to go, and I am so glad they did. As soon as I took one look at Megan s parents I quickly realized that they could not have cared any more for her, and that my thoughts were all wrong. Everyone at the funeral home was so upset, yet at the same time they were all laughing and telling funny Megan stories. It made me feel so much better to see all the people who cared so much about her, and they helped me realize that it was OK to smile.
Before now, I always thought of funerals as a time for everyone to get together and cry about the one they lost; however, Megan funeral really did help me come to grip with what was happening. After the funeral was all over and done with, everyone seemed to move on with life. This still was not a possibility for me. I rarely got off the couch for six months. I would even hide food, the phone, and the remote in the crack of the couch so I would never have to move. I could not sleep. The entire month of February I probably got ten hours of actual sleep. Even then I could not sleep in my bed. I slept on the couch or on the floor of my mom and dad s room for six months. Some days my mom and dad would make me go to school.
I would just take a shower and leave. I never bothered to fix my hair or get ready. I had to quit my job, I never went out with my friends, I did not do anything. Not only did I want to be miserable, but I wanted everyone else to know I was miserable. I thought of nothing but Megan twenty-four hours a day: I thought about her family, her car, her report card, what we used to do together, everything. I wanted everyone else to do the same. Whenever I felt like people were beginning to forget about her, I made sure I was extra sad so they could not forget what happened.
I was convinced I was doomed to total sadness for the rest of my life. However, luckily for me, my friends and family felt differently. My friends continuously came over to check on me and finally after months on the couch, they finally convinced me to go out with them. My mom and dad had been wanting me to see a psychiatrist from the very beginning, but they finally forced me to go, and that helped a lot. They even bought me a new bed so that I could sleep in my room, but I think it was because they got tired of me sleeping on the floor of their bedroom. I finally was starting to get back into the swing of things.
Exactly seven months after that day I got a new job and have worked there ever since. My psychiatrist helped me come up with a plan. I go to the cemetery once a week to visit Megan. This is my sad time. It is OK for me to be as sad as I want, but I have to try not to be miserable the rest of the week. It has almost been ten months now, and I still go to visit her every week. I try to visit her mom a lot too. That is very hard for me, but I think it helps her mom know that everyone still loves her and thinks about her all the time. Her mom gave me a pair of Megan earrings and I wear them twenty-four hours a day.
It helps to have a little bit of her with me at all times. Even though it took me a long time and was very hard, I have finally moved on with my life. The day Megan died changed my life forever in more ways than one. I will never be the same. I lost a part of me that day, but even though I will never be the same, I hope I can become greater than I was before that day. I know it has made me a much stronger person and Megan has taught me many valuable lessons. I now know that you can not sweat the little stuff. There is way too much of it.
If we all worried so much over everything, the world would be a much more miserable place. Even more importantly, I learned who my true friends were. Unfortunately, I had a few friends who did not stick with me through the couch period in my life, but there are quite a few who did. Those friends and I are closer now than we ever could have been had it not been for that day. Megan also helped me figure out that you just have to roll with the punches. There will always be ups and downs in life. Hopefully, you will be as lucky as I was and have the support of friends and family to help you deal with the downs and celebrate the ups.