For whatever reason, this is my first contribution to the paper. Maybe it’s taken me so long because I was “taking a break from extracurriculars after high school,” but that’s really just my excuse to Mom. Total lack of ambition is probably a more truthful culprit. Anyway, this streak of mine would likely have continued if today wasn’t such a big day.
Now, it’s not big for the usual reasons. Not that I didn’t have a math project on fractal patterns due this morning, because I was up all night doing it. And not that I don’t need to grind away at a five-to-seven-pager, due Monday, that’s worth a fifth of my history grade, because that has to happen too. Not even that today just might be exactly a year since a certain internet video was viewed for the millionth time, because, again, that is indeed the case.
Well, maybe big isn’t the word. Heavy is more like it. Not the stoner’s drawn out “heeaaavy,” though. Heavy as in it weighs on me. Heavy as in I sort of wear it.
You see, Mom didn’t wake me up with the usual, “Good morning,” today. No smiles either, just tears. I didn’t want to go to school today, in retrospect because I guess I dreaded having to face it. But I went anyway, albeit forced by my parents.
Today was a day of hugs pulsing with sobs. Of crying dry tears because the wet ones stopped flowing. Of struggling to understand and refusing to accept.
A day of condolences and, most of all, of remembrance.
It was a huge-duffel-bag-filled-with-sand kind of heavy. A full year later I can still feel it pull me into the ground.
I had no concept of true grief before today. Or of how it felt to sprinkle a shovel full with dirt over one I loved as if to hide under ground the years of memories we shared. To be held by parents who experienced the ultimate loss, as if the union of our tears might bring their own child back. I deeply wish all this remained unfamiliar.
But, an entire year later, I remember these feelings and images so clearly that I could not let this day pass without doing something special.
So please allow me to offer some humble guidance as we take off in the sprint toward finals. As the crowd in front of Paresky thins and we trade Adirondack chairs for carrels, and as the nights in Sawyer and Schow drag on longer than is probably healthy, and as this multiple choice question or that short answer gets answered incorrectly – God knows more than a few inevitably will be – and as writer’s cramp seems chronic and that equation just keeps nagging, remember that it isn’t life or death. We at Williams are far too blessed to be stressed out about such things.
I couldn’t make it home for the unveiling of his tombstone, but my dad put flowers on the sign in front of the high school for me, right where they were a year ago today.
We’re too blessed to be stressed. Remember that.
For Josh Davis,
September 26, 1989 – April 30, 2007
Aaron Flack ’11