If you knew that your friend was going to die in a week, what would you do?
Going through the month of March has been hard for me. As it gets closer to the anniversary, I break more and more often. The first few days of March, I could still separate it by distance: in a month, he will die. I still have a month before my life changes, before I have to face the fact that he has been gone for a year now. As the weeks went on, I had to fight harder to get the memories to go away. Images of him sitting with me after our shift at the restaurant came to mind whenever they wanted to. I tried to plan things and looked at a calendar and just recognized that the date was coming. Tears started coming during work, or on the drive home, and it's getting to the point where these emotions are too powerful. I can’t force them away anymore, I’m stuck embracing them.
In a week from now, my friend will die. And I can’t go back in time to stop it from happening.
I’m finding that in this grieving process, I’ve been having a hard time understanding it’s in the past.I see his death as something I’m constantly dreading. Like it’s about to happen all over again. Or like it’s happening now for the first time. Then other times I can identify that this was all a year ago. It was a year ago that I sat with him and joked about work and hugged him for giving me a fry. It was a year ago that I barely listened as he told me that his problems were too big to talk about. It was a year ago that he didn’t show up to work on a busy night and stressed the whole staff out. It was a year ago that my manager called and told me the reason he hadn’t shown up was because he was dead.
It was a year ago that my first thought was “How dare you joke about suicide? That’s not funny, Cassie. He could actually be dead.” It was a year ago that I was angry at the manager for a few minutes before actually processing that this wasn’t a joke.
To be quite honest, if you can’t tell already, I am still processing how this was not a joke.
A week from now, on the anniversary of his death, I will remember all the emotions that went through my head on the last night I spent with him. I will go through the night at the restaurant without him, and how angry I was that he would leave us hanging. And I will remember the phone call I got the day after, and how the manager was crying as she described the broken man who came in to tell her Matt wouldn’t be back.
It’s been a year, but it feels like it is going on right now. I feel like I’m constantly trying to warn the me that existed a year ago that her friend is going to die in a week. I’m trying to prepare her, or coax her into doing something that I couldn’t do last March. I’m trying to make her focus on him so she can keep every memory she can. I’m trying to convince her to say something that will make him change his mind.
But I can’t; Matt dies in a week.
Hannah Desrosiers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.