This is a post I’ve been trying to avoid writing for the past two days. I’ve had time to ponder words to even write and things to even say, and I am still struggling. But there is nothing more you can do other than try.
In 2011, I graduated from a very small Catholic school with an even smaller graduating class of 36 students. Coming from a school of 125ish students and a graduating class of 36, you are friends with everyone. You are all close. You are all a family.
About a year after graduation, our graduating class of 36 shrunk to 35 following the loss of one of our peers after her courageous fight with brain cancer. That loss was one that I couldn’t even understand. Truthfully, I still don’t. I couldn’t understand why God gave her the suffering she went through, why she had to deal with all she had to deal with. I sat in my college dorm room freshman year when I got the news, alone, wondering what to do or say from there. Who did I turn to first? My boyfriend of the time was on a cruise outside of the country. I was not home. I found it hard to explain the ‘family’ aspect of our school to people whose graduating class was one of 700+ students. 5ish years later, the numbing pain has somewhat gone away, but not completely.
I asked you guys a couple weeks ago to look out for one of my friends, one of the core 36, that had quite literally completely dropped off the face of the Earth. There were no answers to his whereabouts. No clues. No leads. Nothing. The case went on for 20 days, everyone’s minds reeling over where he could be and how or why this was even happening in the first place. Two days ago, on Friday, April 28th, exactly 20 days since the missing persons report was filed, the case came to a close.
This time, I was at work. On my lunch break to be exact. With three minutes to spare before having to clock back in. Again, what was I supposed to do? Who was I to turn to? How was I supposed to hold my composure and go back and teach my class in a mere three minutes. Being strong is an option. And sometimes, its the only option you have.
The class of 36 is now down to 34. At only 24 years old, this is not something you can mentally prepare yourself for. You expect to see all your peers, your friends, 5, 10, 15, 40 years down the line at class reunions. You expect to see their accomplishments in life. Who is married. Who has kids. Who is a CEO of their own company. Now, there are two I will never see again.
The good part about graduating with a class of 36 from a school of 125ish is the endless outpouring of love and support during times of need. We all stand together as one. While it might not be at the same level, we all experience the hurt. We all experience the pain. This is something I will be grateful for throughout my years here on this little planet. I know that while sometimes I may feel as if I am alone, I am never alone. There will always be someone there supporting me.
I want to extend a sincere thank you to every single person who has reached out to any person involved in this case. I want to thank every person who tried hard to bring Kurt home. Who looked for his whereabouts. Who tried to put two ends together. Who prayed every single day for him and his family. Who hoped and wished for good news to follow. Who continues to extend love and prayers during this time of tragedy.
Today, I ask one thing of you. I ask that you hug those you love a little tighter. Remind everyone how much they mean to you. Remind everyone how their existence is great and sacred. Remind those you love that they are not alone, that you will always be by their side.
And to Kurt, thank you for the memories, brother. You were one of a kind. I am already counting down the days until I can see you again. xoxo.