Today marks the first day I’ve been to campus since school began last Monday. I know that seems like a pretty bad way to start off the brand new semester, but I have found it incredibly difficult to return to the life routine I had just a month and a half ago. You see my life changed completely in those few short weeks and while everyone is just going through their days like they usually do, I am struggling with continuing life the same way as before.
My best friend, Stephanie Renee Nogid was 20 years old when she passed away last month on the first of this year. She had been in the hospital for 4 days. My friends and I were there, in the waiting room for each of those days. TWe waited and we prayed, and at the end of it, it had felt like weeks had gone by. Afterwards, my phone messages and social media inbox’s were flooded with condolences from friends, people from high school, and from people I barely knew. It was amazing to see how many people reached out just to make sure I was okay, but despite their kind words, nothing they said helped the feeling inside my chest.
I was mad. I am still mad and confused, and sad, and terrified. 20 year olds don’t just die out of nowhere. We’re young with so much life left to live. Steph was robbed of all that for what reason? She didn’t do anything wrong EVER – and I am not exaggerating. I have been told it iss not ever going to make sense so stop trying to make sense of it, but it’s difficult accepting that there is really no answer to the question of, “Why did this have to happen, especially to her?”
I struggle keeping my emotions in tact because the feeling of sadness and unfairness is overwhelming most of the time, but I also try to see the positives from this situation. I never thought something like this could happen to me. Sure you see it happen to other people but you don’t really think that could be my best friend? My parent? My sibling? But now because of Steph, I know that you are not always guaranteed another day. So why spend the time you have here saying hateful things and harboring hateful feelings. Instead of complaining about your life, look around and find the beauty in the world no matter how little it may be. Things as simple as a new mother pushing her baby in a stroller, the way the sky displays 100 shades of pink, yellow, and red during sunset, or even having an extra candy bar fall out of a vending machine. Smile at everybody you see even if they don’t smile back. Don’t take the people you love and care about for granted and always let them know how you feel about them because you never know whether it could be the last time you see them. Avoid, instead of engaging, with negative people, and try to find a positive side to even the most upsetting situations. Focus on your happiness and accept the things you cannot control.
I ask you the question, “Would you be fully satisfied with the life you lived, the person you are, and company you kept if you were to die right now? If the answer is “no,” then change something.
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