Losing a loved one

I had just had a tough week of school and it was finally the weekend. I was pumped to go see “Avengers: Endgame” with a bunch of my friends, but that feeling of excitement and happiness all changed when I got home.

Something was off when I pulled into the driveway. My step-dad’s truck and my aunt’s Lexus were parked out front of my house which rarely happens.

I was curious as to why my step-dad was home from work so early and why my aunt was over as well. It had to be something serious but I didn’t know what it could be.

Walking through the door and my mom, aunt and my step-dad were in the backyard, I walked over there and said, “What’s up?”

My mom immediately broke down into tears and muttered out, “Your brother died…” She grabbed me and hugged me super hard as she whispered, “I’m so sorry.”

My first question was, “Jack or Peter?”

With a face full of tears rolling down her face, my mom said, “Jack.”

My heart dropped to the floor, I was stunned about the news but didn’t feel sad, angry or mad.

My aunt and step-dad both apologized to me and hugged me. A feeling of emptiness came over me and couldn’t understand why I felt that way.

Not wanting to talk to anyone, my first idea was to message my other brother, who lives out of town to see how he was doing.

Peter was having a tough time with the news.

He was angry about what happened and was saying that life isn’t fair. He also wanted us to be close even though he doesn’t live close anymore.

Peter was definitely right about life not being fair and in those following moments after talking to him I got a little angry.

Throughout my entire life I hadn’t done anything wrong. I never broke a law or anything, so I wondered why did this have to happen to me?

I quickly realized that it was selfish of me to think like that, my brother died from something he struggled with his whole life.

He was always involved with drugs and that ultimately ended his life.

This feeling of regret came over me, along with the thoughts of needing to be there for him made me tear up knowing that I could have made it better.

My brother and I didn’t end on the best terms which is a huge regret of mine. The last time we talked was years ago and I wish that wasn’t the case.

Jack was a big part of my life when I was a kid, he introduced me to a lot of interests that I still have to this day like football, basketball, rap music and video games.

It feels like a piece of my childhood has a hole in it and it will never be the same.

Losing my brother made me feel so alone and isolated from everyone else. It felt like no one could understand my struggles internally.

This cloud of loneliness and isolation came over me. I didn’t want to burden my friends or family with anything because they wouldn’t understand what I was going through.

Luckily, hours later, my cousins, aunts and uncles from both sides of my family started reaching out to let me know that they were there for me if needed.

My heart was full of love knowing that I had a family to talk to and that they were there for me.

Over the next few weeks, I couldn’t help but think about Jack all the time.

Especially about the countless amount of memories we had together playing football and basketball in our backyard. Or him teaching me how to play video games, showing me new music, taking me to the movies, etc.

Like most people, I was reflecting on our relationship and that really messed me up mentally.

I wanted to know what the future held for us could and what could have been.

Shortly after, El Camino’s baseball team lost one of their baseball players. I felt this connection to the team and wanted to share their journey.

I knew Jack would want me to and would be proud that I did.

During this time, I learned how to deal with loss and how others could help someone with the death of a loved one.

Something that really helps people who are grieving is letting that people know you are there for them.

Don’t be aggressive about it, just let them know once and they get the idea.

People always tell me it will get better with time, but this simply isn’t true. Don’t tell people that time will heal their wounds.

Time can’t heal the emotional rollercoasters I have every week or the countless days I saw my mom crying and sleeping all day.

Everyone grieves differently, so you shouldn’t try to rush people to get back to their everyday routines, work, school, going out, etc. Not everyone cries, some people get angry or mad and some don’t show any emotion.

Let that person do what they want, they will go back to work or school when they want to.

Reflecting on the past seven months, I have learned that no matter how much time has passed I will never be better or the same. Someone who had a huge impact on my life is now gone forever. All I can do now is try to a better person, learn from what he did and grow.

Editor’s Note: The names in the story were changed for privacy reasons on Monday, Dec. 9, at 4:56 p.m.