January 19, 2009
By Mindy Privett, Culver, IN

During my junior year at Culver, I experienced a dramatic and life changing less I still think about
today. I learned when losing a close loved one brings the realization of how death is present, the
stages of grief, how precious life is and how to be strong when dealing with a death. People today
still have many unanswered questions such as why do we die? And why do we lose loved ones? I found
myself asking the same questions last spring. My best friend Sean Tedesco, who I have known since
sixth grade, instant messaged me one afternoon in April. I was almost positive he was telling me he
was ready to go to the gym and to meet him outside of company. However, Sean was typing
hysterically saying, "Melissa my mom's in a coma, something bad has happened." I was shocked,
unsure of what to say to him, I repeatedly told him she will be fine, everything was going to be
okay. Later that day he called me and told me he was heading home to see his mom. I continued to
tell him everything was fine. The next day I was at home sitting on the couch with my mom when I got
a phone call, it was another good friend, Sean's best friend as well. Sean's mom had died. I
was in complete denial, there seemed to be no way this beautiful women who I have went to dinner,
lacrosse and hockey games and talked with a couple days before had died. I could not grasp the fact
she was actually gone. It was so sudden and unexpected. She had a brain aneurism; no one would ever
have imagined this could happen to her or even them. Not only was I in denial and did not want to
believe this until I talked to Sean, I was extremely angry at myself for telling Sean everything
would be okay. Everything was not okay, and I blamed myself for telling him something I was
completely unsure about. I was extremely upset and I could only imagine what Sean was going
through. Finally, Sean called me and we talked for hours. By the end of the conversation, I was
packed my bags and was heading to his house. His dad felt this was a good idea because he needed to
be with friends to help him keep his spirit up as much as possible. Even though I was going to be at
his house, I still could not believe Mrs. Tedesco would not be sitting on the couch when I walked
in the door. My friend Emily tried to talk to me and calm me down before going to the funeral. She
told me I needed to think of the good memories and realize how she is in a better place now. I did
not want to believe or even listen to her because I did not believe Leanna was out of my life forever.
I cannot say I went through bargaining or depression because my acceptance of her death came very
quickly to me. The funeral had a closed casket for the fact her head was swollen from the aneurism,
however, since I was staying with Sean's family I had the chance to see her before she was
buried. This was my first part of acceptance. Seeing her, examining her and watching her, she was
there but gone. I was terrified I did not even want to look at the casket anymore, it did not look
like her, but it was her. It hit me like a ton of bricks, Mrs. Tedesco was gone. I held Sean and
consoled him as we took the final look and they closed the casket. I thought to myself, how is this
kid so strong, when I am barely holding it together and this is his mother. The funeral was about to
begin, when the second part of my acceptance slowly came about. The whole hockey program slowly
started to arrive into the funeral home. Every one of Sean's friends and teammates were there for
him. After the funeral is when I finally accepted her death. We were all in the room with Sean and
his family and the hockey team all came in. The biggest hockey players had tears in their eyes. They
all got in a circle and were hugging Sean. I knew they finally accepted it as well.

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