Dealing with Loss: A Teenager’s Perspective

As I was sitting in gym class since I had done my laps for the day, listening to music as I scroll through my Facebook Feed, procrastinating my AP World History homework, I opened a GoFundMe page that had the picture of a close camp friend, Isabella, and her step-sister, Taylor, as the main photo. Assuming she just wanted to go on a cool summer trip I decided to read through it. The campaign description began by explaining the girls’ attributes. Then I read it. They had passed away in a car crash early that morning with a friend of theirs in the car.

It didn’t really register at first. I sat there in shock as tears slowly slid down my face.

Immediately I thought of the many memories created with this amazing girl that had so many amazing attributes. Isabella was funny, endearing, kind, strong, loving, and brave all wrapped into one beautiful girl. I was flooded with so many memories: the moments when she made sure that I was included in the conversation when my many attempts were ignored, the times she would hold a crying girl in her arms until she calmed down enough to go back to enjoying the beautiful place we call home away from home.

Isabella was always around to give a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or a good laugh. It hardly mattered what you needed; if there was the smallest possibility of getting it, nothing would stop her until she succeeded or had given 314%.

She always put people before herself, unless she was asleep.

This girl could sleep like no one I’ve ever met. Once she slept through the last two activities of the day, making us all laugh when she came back into the cabin to find her still in bed and very confused.

Throughout my last class, as I struggled to pay attention to my teacher talking about some formula in Algebra II. I was too numb to cry. There was no way this could be real, was there?

Was this some cruel April Fools prank a few days late? No, that couldn’t be true. My mother asked if I should be released early, but with only 20 minutes left, a friend to drive home, and an algebra quiz tomorrow that I needed to understand the material for, I declined her offer and decided to fight my way through the last 20 minutes of school.

After school, I stayed at my best friend’s, Colleen’s, house since she understood what I was going through. After about a half hour I decided that I needed to get home.

As soon as I got inside I broke down, no longer able to hold it together. I cried. My puppy cuddled me sensing that something was wrong. After a while I found that I was out of tears even though my heart was still shattered.

Over the next day at school, I couldn’t get what had happened out of my mind. All day I struggled to keep my focus. Many of my teachers could tell I was upset and made an effort to make sure I was all right.

Colleen noticed that suddenly I was much more aware of my surroundings when driving. I was already a cautious driver, but it was only intensified after Isabella passed. She has since told me she notices that I’m not as excited to drive; I don’t dread it but I’m no longer jumping up and down with excitement to get behind the wheel.

Throughout the week, while I still thought of Isabella constantly, while I was still absolutely heartbroken, I was able to focus in class and momentarily distract myself.

Near the middle of the week I found the official news report of what had happened. Again, I couldn’t keep it together. Again, I allowed the grief to wash over me.

On Saturday, my mother and I drove to Austin for the memorial service. I was able to keep my composure almost all the way through the service, but I nearly lost it when I started hugging my camp friends that were also close to her. My friends from home checked in on me all day, they wouldn’t even leave me alone when I took a nap.

Now six months later, I still think of Isabella a lot. My school work keeps me very busy between multiple AP classes. The wound in my heart will never heal, but it has become manageable. It will become like having your ears pierced–at first your body tries to heal to wound until eventually it heals around the gap and life moves on.