Holly's Passing

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We cried together. We laughed together. We fought together. We shared our stories and our hearts.
I have never done anything like that before with people from my school. Our entire 8th grade class cried when we heard of her passing. We cried and cried and cried. We cried so much, in fact, that we moved the math test we were supposed to have that day to a later date, but I hardly even cared.
All I could think about today, December 8th, 2009, was that Holly was gone. She didn’t deserve to die. She abandoned us all, snatching her smile, her laughter and her twinkling eyes away from us, never to be seen or heard again.
The teachers cried. I have never seen a math teacher cry before, and boy was she a mess. All the girl teachers were. Mascara and tears traced lines down their faces like a crazy skier unable to decide which run to take. Lips trembled and eyes grew large with tears that threatened to spill over the edges creating many more black tears. Inconsistent sniffles echoed throughout the stone walls of the humanities room. The frame of my friend Leah, who, being in 13 and weighing 94 pounds, was shaking with tiny tremors that I feared would never stop. She was one of the girls in my class who never quite grew up. She buys me a stuffed animal for my birthday every year, loves SpongeBob, and wore fuzzy pink slippers on pajama day.
None of the boys in my class cried. I don’t know if it was because they felt they were to macho to cry, or if they just couldn’t handle showing any real emotion concerning Holly’s death. A few of them looked to be on the brink of tears but then they would simply turn their head, close their eyes and lean there head against the wall with their chins cocked skyward in an attempt to avoid meeting the eyes of other teary eyed students. I’m sure that if any of the guys looked at any of the girls head on, they would burst into tears the second their eyes met one of ours.
No class all morning. I’m writing this as a sort of diary. I do not keep a diary, but I do think that Holly deserves to be remembered. Since classes have been postponed most of us are just sitting in a classroom staring at a wall moping, crying, or sobbing. “Holly doesn’t deserve this” I thought to myself. “She wouldn’t have wanted this. She wouldn’t have wanted the school, her pride and joy, to mope and go into a state of shock. Even the teachers should know that. Surely they planned to ‘awaken’ from this trance and then continue teaching their lessons.”
Holly’s death has brought me so much closer to my class. Or at least to the girls. After I went to the bathroom to wipe away the black mascara trails, I went outside. My best friend Kate was outside, sitting on the floor with her back to our locker writing something in a notebook. The teachers were such a mess right now that they didn’t even bother to tell her to get up off the floor. She was so lucky. She picked today of all days to wear waterproof mascara. She looked up when she heard me coming and then laughed humorlessly. “You know, the teachers are such a mess that they don’t even care what we do right now.” I came and sat down next to her, our knees silently brushing against the other. I looked over her shoulder to see what she was writing. She was doing her homework that was due today, but she never did her homework regularly so I knew something was up. There were gray splotches all over the page. The equations she had written were barely legible through the blobs of gray. “You know, you can’t turn that in,” I said, “Liz will just give you an F for not doing your homework when you were supposed to.”
She laughed humorlessly again. “You think I care if she gives me an F? Nothing can ruin this day any more than it has already.” She was looking down the whole time she said this, and I could see the single gray tear fall from her eye onto the equation she had just completed. “Sh**,” She said. “Now I have to do the problem all over again.” She tore the page out of her notebook and began again.
So. She didn’t have waterproof mascara. She was just looking down the whole time she was crying. That explained why she didn’t have the black trails down her cheeks. She sniffled a little and then dabbed under her eye with her finger. “sh**. This waterproof mascara is such a rip off. I’m SO returning this to Sephora when I get home.” She said as she pulled her finger away from under her eye, looked at it, and then wiped it on her black jeans.
Several other girls, all friends of ours gathered around us. All of them had puffy red noses and large overflowing eyes. Some, like Leah were openly crying and sobbing without a care in the world that they were in public, and at school for that matter. We all sat in a circle and talked about Holly and what we would miss the most about her. Through the sobs and sniffles we eventually said what it was we would miss.
Don’t ever lose hope. Don’t ever surrender. Continue to fight even if it looks like losing is inevitable. Keep fighting and don’t let cancer sneak up on you like it did Holly. Don’t make the ones around you who love you and care about you suffer. Losing the fight will make no one but you at peace. Don’t make others grieve over you. It only makes you harder to let go of when you leave us hanging. Leave only when your time has come and there is no one left to shed a tear over you.

All of us here at Live Oak will miss you dearly. Goodbye Holly. Safe travels.





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