Nick Shepard

July 10, 2011
By , Akron, OH
The day began like any other. Nick and I were sitting in public safety class goofing around as usual. It seemed like a great day. We talked about our plans for the future – my plan to work security or become a police officer and Nick’s plan to join the Marines. Nick was tall and thin with blonde hair that swooped across his forehead. He smiled a lot. Later that day, January 28, 2011, he made a tragic decision. It was a very unexpected decision that made my life take a turn for the worst.

I’m at my house, it’s about 8:00 p.m., and I’m just chillin’ when I get a call from my friend, Stephen. He says, “Nick’s in the hospital. Get here now. He got beat up.” In the back of my mind I wondered, who beat up Nick? Why is he in the hospital? I rush there right away. I went into the hospital and made my way to the ICU. I’m looking around everywhere. I tell the nurses, “I’m looking for Nick. Where is he?” She says, “The family is in that room over there but you shouldn’t go in.” My heart beats faster as I walk down the long hallway. I looked through the window of the room that she pointed to and Johnny, another friend, waved me in. I take a seat. Everyone is crying. The first words I hear come out of the doctor’s mouth are, “He’s not going to make it.” I didn’t know what to do. I just sat there. Stunned. I thought this was some kind of joke. I kept telling myself this can’t be. I’ve never been more angry, sad and confused in my life. I think someone’s just killed my friend. I’m getting ready to kill the guy who did it myself. That’s when my other friends who were there tell me he killed himself. My heart just dropped. I leave the room and they explain to me that he took a .22 to the head. And after he shot himself he walked to the front yard. His mother found him bleeding all over the place and assumed that someone jumped him so that’s why everyone thought someone beat him up. The nurse came over to us and said, “If you want to see him, you can go in.” I went in. Nick was still alive but doctors said he was brain-dead. I took one look at him and it looked like something out of a war zone, he was barely wearing anything. Blood all over... His face was disfigured. Something no man should ever have to see. To this day I don’t know if I did the right thing or the wrong thing by going in that room.

I remember it all like it happened yesterday. I began to call Lyndsay and Sam, also close friends of Nick. They didn’t believe me when told them what happened. They told me to “Shut up!” and said it was “a sick joke.” I snapped and began screaming at them about how I wouldn’t joke around about something like that. Then they began crying. That’s when the loneliness began. What I experienced felt far worse than the loneliness Crooks felt in the book, Of Mice and Men, in my opinion. Every day was a battle. There were many nights I could not sleep. I felt like I could see him. I couldn’t get the image of him on that bed out of my head. It stuck in there. I wanted to remember him the way he was but it wasn’t turning out that way. I began to keep to myself. I barely talked to anybody. Along with that I became more irritable. I started lifting more, boxing more, using my rage and take it out on the weights and punching bag. I couldn’t stand seeing anyone being picked on or messed with because you never know when someone could commit suicide. So I began to tell people to back off other guys I didn’t even know. My best friend got sexually harassed and normally I would talk to the person, I almost always solved things by talking to the people and they usually never did it again. But instead I talked to him and then threw him over the bench and into the wall. I began getting into more trouble by the minute.

I felt suicidal at times. But the only thing that ever kept me going was my friends and family and knowing that they would feel horrible, as horrible as I felt. So I kept moving on. Moving on with this life and you know what, I wasn’t happy about it. I thought to myself that I have 50 more years of my life to live…and I would be negative and think how its going to be torture just living all these years, so I might as well end it now. I might as well get rid of all the pain. But the fact is…I didn’t.

I’m writing this for all teens out there who’ve been through a struggle. I’m here to let you all know that you aren’t alone. I’ve been there and done that. Don’t get me wrong, the pain of what’s happened will last in me forever. But time heals the deepest wounds. It’ll be terrible in the beginning. Indescribable pain. But just hold on. Life has a lot of things that it likes to throw our way. But the way I see it, it was tossed in my path for a reason. It went in my way so I can overcome that pain. Overcome that challenge. Don’t make some of the mistakes I did. Find some other way to release your anger and pain. Don’t inflict your anger on others. If you ever consider suicide find someone to talk to. Find something to do. Go out of the house. Do something to stay busy or the loneliness may become too much. Loneliness can be one of the most depressing feelings in the world. When you are lonely, you feel isolated from the world and you may feel like you have nothing to live for. But, take it from me, a guy who has been there, life is worth living.

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