Since my Freshman year in high school in 1996, we have had to say good-bye to three of our classmates. The first was Chris. He passed away our Freshman year at the age of 14 from a massive asthma attack. It was Homecoming. I didn’t believe anybody until I got to school and Mr. Perry had to break the news to us. I didn’t know Chris very well but he was the type of person that didn’t care what your social standing was in school. He was nice to everybody and he even helped me to spell asthma when we were in fifth grade. Despite having asthma, Chris was very into sports. The day of his funeral, almost all of our class (which at that point was over 200 students) and quite a few from the sophomore class was there. We filled one of the churches here in town and the people who attended spilled out onto the sidewalk. There are a few songs that when I hear them now all I can think about is Chris.
About four years ago, we lost Andrea. She was hit by a car on the highway. Andrea and I never were friends. We didn’t hate each other either. We just kind of acknowledged each other but never really spoke to each other unless we had to.
Then a year ago we lost Matt. Matt was one of the coolest guys I knew. His death hit me hard. We never hung out but I considered us friends and I think he did too. When ever we saw each other we’d say hi and ask how each other was doing. Matt unfortunately got into drugs and was taking the steps to clean up. I don’t know what really happened but he died of an accidental drug overdose. My best friend called me in tears letting me know that Matt was in a coma in the hospital and his outlook wasn’t good. A week later he was pulled off life support and he passed away. His memorial service was kind of a high school reunion. I sat with some people I hadn’t talked to since we graduated. Not very many people got up to speak about Matt because words could fully describe the person that Matt was. I don’t think that many of us wanted to think or even speak of Matt in the past tense. I met his dad for the first time that day.
Matt and I had English our sophomore year. Matt sat by me for the majority of the year and we always seemed to pair up when we needed to. We were kind of the outcasts in the class so it made sense for us to pair up. One day we had to take a passage from Macbeth and change it to our own kind of poem or something like that. All I really remember about what we came up with was a poem about cops and donuts. I wish I had that poem with me at Matt’s memorial but it’s hidden in a box somewhere in my parents’ shed. When I think of Matt that’s the first thing that comes to mind. I laugh every time I think of that.
I cannot believe it’s been a year already. Life is too short. Matt’s passing reminded me that I need to live out my dreams and do everything that I want because you never know when your life will be cut short. Shortly after Matt died, I was looking through my yearbooks and the first page I went to was a message that Matt wrote. I cried so hard when I read it.
Matt you were a wonderful person and someone I will never forget. I miss you and your ability to make everyone smile when they were down.