I have a lot of reasons why I have all of this anger built up inside of me and because I’m not a person who likes to talk about my problems I keep them to myself. With every day week month and year passing these problems grow bigger and bigger it doesn’t stop building until one day it explodes and there I am again in the principal's office being ask why.
Not believing that “there was nothing wrong” unlike everyone else, he told me there has to be a reason why I’m so upset about whatever it was that was bugging me. My heart was beating at the speed of light and with lumps in my throat I brought up how Kaleigh was my breaking point. That I could no longer take any more pain, that my heart was maxed out on breaking to millions of pieces. There are many more points that begin this long train of denial and heartbreak but here's how it began.
I was asked what were some events in my personal life that had affected me in a negative or positive way. I already started thinking to myself here we go. I began with how I first moved to Pennfield in 5th grade and everything was already confusing but to add to my confusion my grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer.
My mom's first instinct was to be protective, so she never told me what exactly was wrong with him but the fact that he had to have surgery and that he was in the hospital I knew something was really wrong. I don’t deal with people being sick or in the hospital very well, but I knew I had to visit him at some point. The day where I finally worked up enough courage to visit him my grandma went to go get some food. While she was gone he sat me down looking very weak he said “no one has probably told you the real reason I’m in here” catching his breathe he continued on telling me that he had to have surgery and with the next breathe my heart shattered into tiny pieces when he told me he has lung cancer and that he has to remove part of his lungs before it spreads to other parts of his body.
My mind kept going over the same word over and over Cancer, Cancer, cancer, he has cancer.
For months after all I ever did was cry and pray that God wouldn’t take him and that I’d do anything for him to save my grandpa. I wouldn’t cry in front of anybody, only behind closed doors would I cry. I spent hours a night crying, begging God to save him that I would do anything I’d give up anything but little did I know I was bargaining another person life for his.
Soon later I would find this out.
A few years later I was told the same story, but with my aunt. I remember being at her house when my mom and her went to have a “girls day” but in reality they were going to a movie and shaving her head because the more chemo she took the more her hair fell out. I knew she wouldn’t be the same anymore. She loved her hair more then anything in the world, and when she gave me all of her hair accesories that she would no longer be able to use it was hard to fight back the tears. I kept them to myself because I knew she herself was struggling with the thought that she would never have her same hair back. Which was true.
It was years later when I finally thought my life was getting better in reality it was just taking a turn for the worst. I was going into my freshmen year, I made the cheer team, I grew close to a couple people but in specific I grew close to this one girl.
We were one person.
At cheer camp we stayed up all night talking about our problems by the lake and laying under the stairs messing around being stupid. A few months later I was at home watching greys anatomy when my coach had texted me to call her asap it was an emergency.
My heart skipped a beat or maybe even more.
Not knowing what I was in for next I called her instantly, I could tell something was wrong by the tone of her voice, I was on my back porch at home even though it was a little chilly I was thinking to myself oh gosh what is she about to tell me.
When the word I never wanted to hear came through the tiny speaker on the phone “she’s gone. Kaleigh's gone.”
Instantly my heart dropped and I couldn’t breathe I couldn’t speak I didn't know what to say all I could do was sob.
It seemed like hours before we got off the phone, she wanted to make sure I was okay and that I was going to be okay but as I now know you can never nor will you ever be okay when you were just told that your best friend past away. She got off the phone with me and I went in and I had to tell my brother the worst news of his life. I asked him if he had heard about the accident he told me yes I paused trying to keep the tears in I then yelled down to him with the longest pause and a lump in my throat I said “it was Kaleigh” before I could finish I was in full tears, he rushed up the stairs and gave me the biggest and strongest hug I ever felt as if he didn't want to let go, or as if he was trying to put the million of pieces my heart was in back together again.
I didn’t want to eat that night, I couldn’t sleep because every time I dosed off I would think of her and I’d wake up crying again. I didn’t go into the bathroom because my first action was automatically look into the mirror I couldn’t do that without thinking to myself why why not me.
I somehow thought this was my fault. That I was at fault because I couldn’t help her that I couldn’t somehow saved her as if I were there at that time and I knew exactly what was going to happen.
Weeks months and years passed by before I was even okay to say her name. I couldn’t listen to the radio because every time it was on her favorite song would play. At this moment I didn’t know if I hated or loved that song, it kept her alive but it made me think about her funeral over and over.
I remember a lot from her funeral even through all the sobbing. We all watched as her lifeless body was carried down the aisle her poms on top of the casket and everyone crying.
The pastor, Jim read to us what he had to say about her and we all sobbed. Many of us didn’t even know how loud our sobs were until he paused and all you could hear was the echoes of sniffling and sobbing. I don’t think any of us had fully grasped what happened yet, as if we tried forgetting. He read her in memory of card and in one of the paragraphs they put “if she wasn’t at her first home she was at her second with her cheer family.” I remember having to walk with my head down low and right out the doors because I couldn’t handle the burden that I felt when it came to her being gone.
All I could do was just tell myself that I was fine, if not for me for everyone else. I blocked myself from my feelings and from people. I was so drained emotionally and mentally that I couldn’t focus in school or out of school. Everything was grey and dual now and I no long was happy or sunshiny. I became invisible.
Everything happened so fast starting with my weight and then grades everything dropped. I quit eating, I quit caring, I just quit.
The one place I felt safe, the one person I trusted, the only person that could actually understand what I was going through or at least acted like they knew was now gone. I was lost.
With anxiety attacks setting in I’d find myself in the bathroom stall trying to breathe, gasping for air and tears running down my face like a broken faucet my brain was on lockdown.
I finally thought that my life was starting to get better that I could handle this, little did I know I would keep losing people close to me. Two months later I still wasn’t okay but I was just okay enough to keep my head from spinning at school. February 10th was a normal day at school but something seemed off, our teachers were quieter than usual. Normally I teacher wasn’t in the room until 10 minutes after the bell rang but today he wasn’t, he sat at his desk and waited for every student to be in their seat when he stood up and looked at us with sadness plastered to his face he told us that last night Wyatt had passed away. Chills were sent over my body and the room was silent, it stayed silent for the rest of the hour. No one ever expects this to happen, no one thinks that you're hurting, no one can feel the same way as you. As tears start to flow down my cheeks I continue to pretend to read, to pretend to be okay, but really my heart just lost a few more pieces, but I held it together or so I thought. I continued on my day wanting to leave but knowing I had to get my grades up I went to my next class, my favorite class. My teacher was an outstanding teacher helping every kid in every way he knew he could. It was a Friday we played the usual Friday song.
Today we didn’t.
Wyatt was the reason for the tradition, it was his favorite thing so in his honor we didn’t play the song. I could tell how much different it was when a student who kept to themselves pass away, not many are confused or hurt by it, but when a student or students who was friends with everyone and super outgoing passes away the whole school is shaken up and just thrown all of the place like an earthquake had just occurred. He was hurting and know one knew, he kept his feelings to himself and locked away and the monster attacked him.
He was gone.
Once you hurt for so long you learn how to hide it really well, but we all have our days. Some days are worse and some days are easy, but at the end of the day you hear the same message over and over.
Give up, give up Emily, it's okay, just give up.