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Growth from death: Dealing with loss at young age

Ms.+Tamayo+with+her+best+friend+Bri+in+high+school.
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Growth from death: Dealing with loss at young age

Ms. Tamayo with her best friend Bri in high school.

Ms. Tamayo with her best friend Bri in high school.

Courtesy of Ms. Tamayo

Ms. Tamayo with her best friend Bri in high school.

Courtesy of Ms. Tamayo

Courtesy of Ms. Tamayo

Ms. Tamayo with her best friend Bri in high school.

Miranda Tamayo, Staff Guest Contributor

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SPRING TEACHER SERIES

In February of my junior year of high school, my best friend committed suicide. It completely blindsided me. I had known her since we were ten, and she was the happiest person I knew. Her laugh was booming and contagious. Her personality was magnetic. She was an incredible athlete and was committed to the University of Arizona on a full-ride softball scholarship. She had straight As. She was the one I told all my secrets to. She was there one day and gone the next.

I will never forget the moment I found out. I was pulled out of my first period class and into the office so the counselor could tell me the news privately before the school announced it. “Bri died last night,” the counselor told me. Thinking about that moment, I can still see the awful red carpet in her office as I looked below me and the round, gold glasses on her face when I looked up, squinting my eyes. “What?” I asked, not understanding what she had just said. “Honey, I’m…” After that, I don’t remember much except sitting in the counseling office, staring out the window as students walked by,
thinking Bri would be one of them. It was the first time I had ever had an out-of-body experience. The rest of the day was a blur, and so were many months after that.

Grief is a tricky process. It is different for everyone. For me, I threw myself into that season of high school softball because I felt that was a way I could still be connected to Bri. It helped get my mind of off things. It also allowed me to grieve in the company of my teammates; to know I was not alone.

I still don’t have answers to why Bri did what she did, but part of me will always think that if I listened more or read between the lines that she might still be here. It’s been nine years since it happened, and I still think about her every day. I think it’s important to find something positive in any situation, no matter how heartbreaking. The positive in her death is that it shaped me. It reminds me to listen. Everyone needs a safe space to express themselves. It reminds me to be less selfish. My problems aren’t everyone’s problems, and everyone is going through their own thing. Smile at people. It might be just what they need; let them know you see them. Be there. Everyone needs someone. Be kind. This world would be a better place with a little more kindness.

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One Response to “Growth from death: Dealing with loss at young age”

  1. Kathleen Meeker on May 1st, 2019 10:21 am

    Thank you for sharing this experience and for your insightful reflection at the end. I hope everyone takes a few minutes from their busy day to read this.

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Growth from death: Dealing with loss at young age