I'm Glad I Knew You

I have to admit, it has been a great while since I posted anything, and I apologize for that. In these last few weeks, life has been tricky, especially the losing of thereof. I just want to use this blog to take the time to honor someone who I have been friends with since kindergarten. His name is Joey.
On January 25th, I woke up for school just like any other day. Nothing was unusual that morning, it was pitch black outside still. On my way to the bus stop, my dad said something that caught me completely off guard. "You can't say anything to anyone or else you might get me in trouble," my dad's secretary is an EMT on our town's rescue squad. "She couldn't tell me who it was, but a sixteen year old, that you probably know was picked up at the corner store last night. He was coughing up blood, and went into cardiac arrest. He probably didn't make it because she said it took too long, and there was a lot of blood. I just wanted you to know in case you find out today." My mind completely stopped. What? This wasn't supposed to happen here. There were only 46 kids in my class in elementary and middle school. It could be any of the thirty boys... I felt dizzy. I straightened up, got out of his car, and waited for the bus not uttering a word as it rolled around the bend.
As soon as I was on the bus, my thoughts were racing. Tears started to roll down my face, I had just found out my dog was probably going to die the night before as well. My friend, whom I've known all through school, got on the bus, and I could tell he had been crying. "Come here," he said to me. I slipped into the two seater next to him, as he asked me what I knew about last night. I told him because I knew he knew anyway, but he knew who. I asked him, and he shook his head. I needed to know who I had lost.
"Is it someone we're close with?" He nodded. "Who?" I was crying as much as he was at this point.
"Joey." That was it. We lost it. I sat there with his arms around me as we both just cried. We both knew that no one was supposed to know when we got to school, so we tried to pull ourselves together. I got off the bus and ran to the closest bathroom to cry, before meeting my Chinese exchange student, (yeah, they were here at the worst time possible,) but in the bathroom another classmate was crying too. People knew. I stopped the tears for both of our sake's and walked to where I would meet my kid.
As I was standing there, alone inside, I saw everyone's face who knew. A secretary in the office ran outside crying, and I broke down again. It just didn't make sense to me that I would have to go to my locker in five minutes and not see his face. People tried to ask what was wrong, but all I could say was, "You'll find out soon." There was a barrage of hugs as my fellow classmates from grade school came in, and we all shared the same stabbing pain in our hearts. I was just so scared.
Before I even got to class, I was a mess. The school was in utter chaos, and no one was even attempting to contain it. Students who had never even met him were in hysterics, and it angered me to no end. By the time I had got to lunch I stopped crying. There were no more tears in me... He was all that was on my mind. His birthday was just nine days before. That night I got ready to go to the first prayer service with my best friend. It was the worst feeling I had ever felt in my entire life.
The glimmering snow sprinkled in fury onto the roads as we arrived at the church. My classmates from grade school all held each other as we just cried for hours. No one had prepared us to handle something so terrifying,and the next week had been the hardest. After a softball game we dedicated to winning for Joey, another prayer service of tears, the wake and funeral were fastly approaching.
I'm not going to lie, and say I was strong because I wasn't. I got on the line to pay my respects at the viewing with my boyfriend of almost two years. We had driven together, and I don't know what I would've done if he wasnt there. I hadn't even gotten to Joey's dad when I saw the side of his face lying in the casket, and I started to cry. Steven noticed, and the people in front of us were taking too long so he brought me around them. I couldn't say a word to his mom because she was freaking out, so I ran into the arms of our kindergarten teacher, Joey's aunt. She hugged me and Steven just pulled me through all the people and pictures so I could get out. I felt like I was suffocating under all of it, and I couldn't handle the emotions it brought.
Finally, my mother, as did most of the town's mothers, pulled me out of school for the funeral. The family had prepared for five hundred people, but over a thousand came. The school bussed people to the venue, and it brought on a fierce anger inside of me. Students used his death to skip school and made his funeral a social event. The hate, anger, and pure sadness inside of me bubbled because this was Joey. These people obviously didn't understand the anguish we felt. How could a boy who never took a smile off his face deserve this? I said goodbye that day, but it wasn't the end.
There have been a series of fundraisers and events for his family and in his memory. Joey was the kind of person who wouldn't have liked to see us crying for him, and would have tried to make us smile instead. If you knew him, you loved him. There was no in between, and there was no way someone could ever feel anger or hate towards him. Joey was a gentle, kind soul, and his death was a freak thing that no one could have anticipated. But, how do I remember this smiling, funny kid? I remember him in elementary school dancing and being everyone's friend. I remember him in middle school and our joke. We weren't best friends, we were future best friends. Even in high school, every morning at our lockers we'd talk, and sometimes I'd ask him if we were best friends yet. Right now, the loneliness and loss I feel every morning at my locker is tremendous, but in everything I do, I strive to be like him. I love you Joey. Gone but never forgotten.
Posted on February 18th, 2013 at 12:31pm

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