Reading the newspaper and watching the local news after the accidental death of Tyler Zeer, one must wonder what truly is in the hearts and minds of those he has left behind. The anguish his family, his relatives, and his fellow classmates at Bowness High School must be intolerable, and makes one wonder why death must be so cruel to take the life of such an innocent soul. But for someone who never knew Zeer, yet has lost a number of those near and dear, I understand and empathize those close to him.
When someone passes on, it is never an easy thing for those who are left behind. It is a shock at first when those fatal words come out of someone's mouth. There is that sudden shock...the wish that it wasn't true, and the one bearing the news was only kidding. Only with the undeniable truth do the emotions begin to wreak havoc: The memories of this person, of all the times good and bad, and of those special memories of the deceased. Of course, most importantly of all, the loathing that we have taken this person for granted! The loathing that they will never be there again: of the camaraderie and warmth that will never grace their presence again.
About five years ago, my high school, William Aberhart, suffered a school trip tragedy which cost the life of a student that I knew very well, David Elton. When the news came those who also knew him froze, as we all sat in stunned silence with disbelief sinking in. It seemed surreal: this simply could not be happening, I told myself. But when denial gave way to resignation, the memories as well as the self-loathing emerged. The memories of David, a person who was kind, gentle and also intelligent and wise (and after hearing of the tragedy, heroic) arrived hand in hand with loathing. The loathing that I had taken this person for granted, and of the forgiveness that I could never seek from this person after a terrible misunderstanding before his death. It was definitely tough to fully come to terms with this incident. I still bear some of the pain from that day, of the pain and the loathing.
Death is frequently a surprise, and an unavoidable fate. We can only prepare ourselves for the worst, since almost no one can predict when they will pass on. While we may wish that we can keep loved ones around us forever, it is an impossible dream. We may not be able to tell when someone near and dear to us will pass on, so it would be wise to keep those we love close to us. Hug that special someone, and show them that you care. Or do whatever you need to show your affection. Do the things together that you had always wished. Gather up the courage and seize the moment, for one chance may be all you receive. No one can predict if there will be a second chance. Embrace the ones you love, and cherish them forever. For no one can know what tomorrow may bring.