On January 25th, 2019 I lost one of my best friends. Michael and I had been close friends since 4th grade. We were always together at school. One of my favorite memories with Michael was when he tackled me at recess and accidentally broke my glasses. I wasn’t mad, but I sure wasn’t going to tell my mom that a boy tackled me and broke my glasses at recess. So, I told her I sat on them, and somehow she believed it. But that’s not what this story is about.
Michael and I didn’t have any classes together in 8th grade, except for our 7th period, which was health. During this class, we didn’t do much work because our teacher was pretty laid-back and he gave us easy assignments. So, me, Michael, and our few other friends sat at a table together and would usually just joke and laugh with each other. Michael was usually the one making us laugh. He was hilarious. We did that every day, but then Michael stopped coming to school. I knew Michael very well, but what I didn’t know was that he was being bullied every day at school that school year.
I would do anything to go back in time and just go up to Michael, hug him, and do everything I can to help Michael. His death hurt me more than I can explain. I remember the feeling I got when I saw the notification on my phone that said he was gone. It was horrible.
During the months after Michael’s death, I was filled with constant anger and sadness. I felt like I hated everyone. I was mad at all of my classmates, teachers, and staff. There were so many thoughts going through my head. “Why didn’t I notice something was wrong with him?’, ‘Why didn’t the school do more to help him?’. I felt like the world was a horrible place. I had a negative attitude towards everything and everyone.
Over the summer, however, I changed. I realized that there are some pretty awful things that happen to make the world look like a bad place. But it’s not. We just need people that are willing to make a change and help people. I decided that I need to turn my anger into good. I wanted to take all of the sadness and anger in my head and use it to do something good.
I don’t want anyone else to go through what Michael went through, to the point where they think that their only way out is to end their life. I want to make a change, and I want to help people. So, I’m going to do that by honoring Michael. I know that’s what he wants.
After a lot of planning, going to meetings, and figuring out how to be a leader, I and a few others who were friends with Michael started working on a room that will help students. Students at Everett, in particular. This room is going to make a change, and I can’t wait to see it happen.
Unfortunately, this was not my first loss to suicide. I lost my dad in 2014 when I was nine years old. Losing someone to suicide is a whole different level of grief. It is a type of hurt that you could never imagine, and I don’t think anyone ‒ not even the evilest person on Earth – deserves to go through that pain. So I am going to do everything in my power to keep people from ending their lives. I am doing it for my dad, Michael, and anyone else that should still be here, but isn’t.
I want anyone that is reading this to know that you matter, and so does everyone else around you. Even if you don’t like someone, be kind. Treat people with respect. Know the signs of depression and suicide so you can help people, too.
I am going to make a change and I can’t wait to see it happen.