I’m writing this at school, on a Tuesday afternoon — just another Tuesday afternoon, but not.
Earlier this month, a student in my year at school passed away. I didn’t know him well, and I’m not pretending to have done so, but it affected me, as it affected so many in my year, whether they were close friends with him or not. At lunchtime today, a memorial service was held, and special arrangements put in place for the whole year group, to enable us to reflect in peace after the service.
No one expected him to die. No one wants to think that, when the sun rises tomorrow, another person won’t be here, and this time, it might be just a little closer to home than the yesterday’s victim. We’re young students — care-free, existing in our bubbles where nobody can touch us, and the world can’t get to us. This is our time, our moment, and none of us are going to die now, so young, with so much more to do and to find, to say and think, to discover and explore and learn and know.
But that’s not true.
Life is so extraordinarily fragile; no comparison can accurately reflect just how easily a life can be lost, shattered into shards that splinter us all. The bigger the life, the more shards there are to collect — meticulously piece together over weeks and months and years — until a life can be put back together.
But it’s not the same.
Isn’t it incredible how much we don’t know about the people around us? Honestly, I had no idea about half the things this student achieved, or took part in, or enjoyed. A keen scientist, a top mathematician, a sportsman, a composer, a computer scientist, a creative — I knew none of it. Only when he can no longer take credit for all this is it revealed to the world, the curtain — which could have been moved whenever — finally lifted. Why didn’t I know how brilliant this boy was before? Why am I finding this out now, when it’s too late because God, or whatever is out there, has taken him too soon and the end isn’t here — it’s gone, already?
If nothing else, this serves as a reminder. Appreciate everyone around you: friends, acquaintances, fellow members of this global community of ours. Learn from them — both the things you can say, and the things that you can’t. Learn, grow, and allow yourself to be learnt from. Be the best person you can, and see the best in the people around you.
Leave behind what you can, because nobody knows when their sun will set for the final time. Take risks, make friends, do things that you are scared of, because tomorrow may not present itself, and those opportunities may not present themselves again either. Life doesn’t wait for us, so we can’t wait for it either; grab everything that comes your way with everything you have, because you just don’t know if it’ll ever come around once more.
Sorry this post is short, and not really well-structured or thought out. I just needed to get words down on a page, for my own sake mainly, and this is the result. It’s realistic, if nothing else, and reflects how I feel and what I’m thinking at the moment.