It was the first day of summer orientation at Seattle University. They hold these sessions so that when freshmen actually move in and start their first days of school they already feel somewhat acquainted and have some friends to sit with them at lunch and walk with them to class. A natural-born extrovert, it was this type of situation that would make me become a little bit more reserved. I haven’t really had to make new friends since I was in Kindergarten and I’ve since forgotten how this process goes. You were close to six feet and incredibly tan. This could have been your natural skin tone, but it was also the summer. It was apparent that you just weren’t from the Pacific Northwest. I later learned that you were far from being Mormon and that you were from Utah. I didn’t know how to make friends so the only method I resorted to was just making fun of you. Luckily, you didn’t think I was a huge jerk and kept me around. You were the most laid-back person that I had ever conversed with which was refreshing to me because I felt like I was always speaking with sudden bursts of energy with a side order of panic. We could have been unlikely friends, but we weren’t; I was always going to be your “Noogin.” You were my buddy on weekends out, my meal companion, and you were by my side studying with me until the late hours in our dorm lobby or until we just decided to give up and do something else.
I can tell you what it’s like to graduate college, to acquire my first “big girl” job, and to make my first move for a job to a different state. And I have done so with all of those things. I don’t think I was prepared to go through the experience of learning that one of my first friends from college has passed away.
It was my Facebook newsfeed that notified me of the news.
A lone comment to my friend’s wall with the letters “RIP” appeared on my screen. Is it a joke? Who is this person? This shouldn’t be how anyone should learn about the death of their friend. It was later confirmed a couple hours later that my friend had actually died.
Learning how to cope with your first friend passing away is not anything that I know how to deal with or anything that I can quite comprehend at the moment. Writing on his Facebook wall won’t change anything. Wishing that you would’ve reached out sooner or accepted that invite to hang out wouldn’t have changed anything. It’s just something that makes people feel a lot less guilty. I think everyone has their ways of coping. I just prefer to remember my friend the way that I knew him – kind, caring, thoughtful, curious, and a joy to be around.
I live in this dream world where I like to believe that everyone I know will die of old age and maybe hopefully after I’m gone so that I don’t have to be present for them to pass, but that’s not realistic to believe I suppose. It’s hard to move forward knowing that his Facebook page will eerily remain in my number of friends without any activity coming out of it. It feels like time is just stopping entirely and it has for him. It’s difficult to process that Sam won’t be at my own wedding while the rest of the group will be. It’s too soon to say goodbye to him at just 24. We will all miss Sam so much.