One year

It was a year ago that I got a message from Jennifer over my lunch break telling me that they’d found our friend Adam dead in his apartment. It was a year ago today. It was a year ago yesterday (or the day before…I’m not sure on the exact day/time) that he passed away. I still remember the afternoon I received the news in excruciating detail, and the tumultuous two or three days that followed.

It’s been a year, and I’m amazed that this has affected me so much. He wasn’t one of my best friends, but I really respected him and we got a long really well and hung out a fair amount throughout college, even after I switched out of computer science and he stopped enrolling in Japanese classes.

His death has definitely made a difference in how this year has played out. Or rather, his death has affected my perceptions of this year. Any time I see any reference in mass media or from my friends to the cause of his death, I stop smiling or I cringe. Coping with his loss definitely deepened the homesickness I already was feeling and made last spring a true roller-coaster ride, one I definitely wasn’t anticipating. I had very different reactions to situations than I would have if he were still alive–the same would be true if any friend passed on in such a sudden way.

He was just such a truly and wholly good person. Whatever it was that triggered the chain of events that led to his death–he didn’t deserve it. He deserved so much better than that. But then again, who really does deserve that?

It took me months to stop thinking about him daily. I’m not a person who has ever handled death well, which didn’t help, but being here and knowing there was really nothing I could do forced me to stop dwelling and move on, which was really what I needed. At the same time, that wave of emotions came back several times, when I talked to other friends here who lost family members or friends who were very close to them, because it’s happened to several of us. There were all these triggers that brought it back to the surface. And in a way I didn’t mind, because the one thing I was irrationally afraid of was forgetting him.

A teacher at one of my two elementary schools today slid this poem towards me and asked me if I’d read it. I definitely don’t cry anymore when I think of his passing, but this, combined with this somber anniversary, did make my breath catch in my throat for a moment. I hope it’s true for him.

I need to get back to work, but I just wanted to acknowledge this day. I haven’t forgotten about him or the relatively brief but warm and impactful role he played in my life. His life touched so many people’s, and I’m sure there are dozens of people remembering him right now as well.

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