In the Words of a Friend
There was an announcement at school saying that you killed yourself. Everyone was so confused and sad and felt so guilty. Even though I know it wasn’t necessarily my fault that you felt that way, I know I still could have done something. A couple of your friends told me about how you really liked me, and about how hurt you were when you found out I went to Winter Formal with Kyanna. I am so sorry that I ever hurt you. Please believe me when I say that it was not, by any means, my intent. All I ever wanted to do was be your friend, be there for you when you needed it, to help you in any way possible, but I guess I failed. I completely broke down in chapel yesterday when Mr. Brown made the announcement. Mr. Barber talked about it for a few minutes, and despite my annoyances with him in the past, what he said really broke my heart. He knew. He knew about everything. He knew about the cuts on your arm that you hid so well. He knew about how you couldn’t trust people or believe them when they told you they loved you. I just wish he had done more, but after hearing his point of view I realize that he was just trying to give you space. I can’t help but think that if I were in his shoes I would have smothered you with love.
I miss you so much already. It’s like all of a sudden I remember all the little things about you that made you so great. I miss the random white spot on your tongue. I miss shielding you from Mrs. Brown in English class when you were eating. I miss laughing with you about our monstrous amounts of homework. I miss the way your hair always fell perfectly at your shoulders. I miss your thin white hands and their always-bare nails. I miss your blue tennis shoes, the ones with all the holes in them. I miss the sound of your voice, the depth of your breath, the beauty of your smile. I miss your banter with teachers and your never-ending questions. I miss your desire to always learn more. It was your life-long desire to learn that made you so special. I miss how you always had to know every detail. I miss how quick you were to offer a helping hand or piece of advice. I miss your huge amounts of unconditional love, even though you never felt it in return. I just miss you so much. Everything about you made you special. There is not a single person on campus that doesn’t miss you, even if they didn’t know you. Everyone is so sad. Our flag has been at half mass all week. There was an article written about you in the school newspaper and in the local paper. We are holding a memorial service for you separate from your funeral, because so many people wanted to say goodbye to you. So many people wanted to share memories with you, or tell you how much they loved you. I was lucky to get a ticket to your funeral, and I can’t begin to describe to you how sad it was. All of your teachers were there. Mr. Arrow did a rendition of the devotion you gave in class last week, about how those who persevere in times of trials will be granted a crown of life. You were so quick to speak it, yet you would never believe it. Mr. Barber spoke about how you would always shrug him off when he told you he loved you, or he was looking forward to helping you with your poem. Did you know he submitted your finished and edited poem in the contest for you? You are now a published author, at the age of 15. I am so proud of you, as everyone else was, too. I just miss you so much. It seems like no amount of words or crying or pleading or heartache could ever amount to what I feel, because I know none of it could bring you back. I pray to God every night to just allow you to come back to us, even for a day, or maybe to take me in your place. Or maybe just to take us all back in time so I have the chance to help you. To tell you how much I love you.
I know you wouldn’t believe this, but we all love you very much. Mr. Brinn started to make the announcement yesterday and completely fell apart in front of the entire school. Ms. K took over and fell apart, too. She barely uttered the word “suicide” before falling face flat on the floor. Mr. Brigs, along with about fifteen students, all in different grade levels, dashed out of the gym in an attempt to hide their breakdowns. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen or felt. Another one of your friends, a guy from Ontario Christian, spoke at your funeral. He said how he was the only one you had told you wanted to kill yourself, and were trying. He says you texted every day, and the one time you talked on the phone he had to give everything he had not to fall apart. The heartache reeked from every single one of his pours. He said he’s seeing a counselor now because he had thoughts of following you, because the grief was just too much. We’ve had a string of psychologists come to the school and talk to students, too, to try and avoid more deaths. It’s so hard walking by them in the quad every day because it reminds me of you. Everything seems to do that lately. The lockers by Mr. Bigg’s room, a pair of black shoes, a colorful scarf or stripped sweater, seeing someone with short blonde hair, seeing someone eat in class. It all just reminds me of how helpless you were to save yourself, and how we all let you down. I am so sorry. I miss you so much.
At the funeral I got a glimpse of your left arm. They had you in a lacey white gown that showed all of your self-harm scars/cuts. I can’t imagine how much pain those must have caused you. I wish I had seen them and done something to help you. Those cuts were so deep and the scars were so big, and there were so many of them, in so many different parts of your body. Again, I am so sorry.
They say that they found a bunch of depressing poems and suicide-related stories on your laptop, as well as a bloodstain from where your left wrist would have laid as you were typing. There were also apparently bloody tissues and gauze in your trashcan, along with razor blades and exacto knifes in your bedside stand. If only I had stood in your room and seen something, maybe I could have helped you.
Our color guard team went to their first competition this weekend without you, and your church decided to go to winter camp after all, despite the insane amounts of pain and grief still present. It was, as I can imagine, a very tough decision. The guard team did very well, and I hear that they dedicated their performance to you. Way to shine and leave a legacy, Arden, you will always be remembered. I think that one day I will write a book on my experiences in life, like an autobiography. I have always wanted to write one, but I have always had one hard thing to work out: the dedication page. Now I know exactly who I want to be the main focus character and my dedication, my good friend and heart breaker, Arden S Channing. I really am sorry that I didn’t do anything. I really do miss you like crazy and I really do love you. I hope that God has been gracious and allowed you into heaven where you belong, because you have already suffered your time in hell. All you ever lived for was for Him, and you lived a life full of worship and praise. You finally came to a point, however, where the dark shadow simply covered too much of your light and you were pushed over that edge. Again, I am so sorry I didn’t, couldn’t, do anything. I love you always and forever, rest in peace.
Love, your good friend
© Copyright 2016 ArdenSChanning. All rights reserved.
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