A year had passed, and I still can’t help but cry as I recalled getting word of Leo’s passing and the days that came after. I struggled to get out of bed the morning of Leo’s funeral. I dreaded being around everyone. Not to mention Leo’s parents. After all, the Dancy’s and I were so close. It was hard to look in their eyes and not break down.
I felt so helpless. I needed to keep it together. This is like some horrible nightmare. How can it be happening? We just graduated from high school in June. This makes no sense. Oh, goodness! I want to scream so loud and just disappear.
Leo’s face began flashing through my mind. I looked around my room and tried to shake away the thoughts of him, but his image is everywhere. The pictures behind me are all of us. I don’t know how I am going to be able to take all of this today. Since the news came, I have not been able to even leave my room.
I passed out for awhile after receiving the confirmation from Matt that something bad had happened to Leo, and then I awoke to my mother and my best friend, Courtney, standing over me. Keyla was there too.
Outside my room, I heard my dad talking to Leo’s parents. They were crying. I wished I had been able to hug them, but I was too weak and still in shock. I really don’t remember what happened after that. I think I fell into a deep sleep. I wish I could have stayed that way.
In my dreams, Leo was with me and nothing had changed. We held hands as we walked outside the school. He smiled at me and then placed his varsity jacket around my shoulders. I could tell by the trees swaying around us that it is cold. Halloween decorations adorned the outside of the school building. It was October.
Then, I saw the snow on the ground. We were at last year’s winter formal. As I pictured this beautiful image, I was brought back to the present by the sound of my mother’s voice. “Mia, honey, are you up?”
I hesitated before answering and then took a deep breath. “Yes, I am up.” I look down, for fear she will catch me rolling my eyes.
“Mia, I know what you are doing, dear.”
“Oh, and what is that?”I asked.
“Come on, dear. I know you.”
Since I did not want to fight with her, I decided to get up. “Fine, Mom.”
She looked at me as I got up out of the bed. “Mia, are you sure you can do this today?”
Once the words came out of her mouth, I tried very hard to contain myself. “What do you mean?”
“Honey, I am just worried that you will not be able to get through this day.”
“Mom, I will be fine!”
She sighed and shook her head. “Okay, Mia. I am sorry.”
“Look, Mom. I know this is going to be a very hard day!”
She placed her hand on my shoulder. “Mia, please calm down.”
I couldn’t control my anger. I shake her hand off my shoulder. “I am going to be at Leo’s funeral, so stop telling me how to feel!”
“Mia, please stop!” she yelled. Then she held her hands up.
I began to cry. “Please, forgive me, Mom.”
“It’s okay, honey.”
How was I going to get through this?
As I looked across the large crowd of people walking towards me, my first reaction was to run. I did not want to talk to anyone.
Goodness, as if this day was not hard enough!
I knew this was what Leo would have wanted. I took solace in knowing everyone that loved him is here. Still, I could not help but gasp at the thought of having to speak in front of all of them. I just didn’t know if I would be able to gather the courage.
This was not fair. We just graduated back in June. He was only 18 years old—one month shy of turning 19. Why did this have to happen to him?
It was at this time I questioned it all. I was raised Catholic, and I knew God exists. At the same time, why did he took all that was dear away from me?
Not to mention Leo’s parents. He was the only child they had. How are they going to live without him now?
This is what made everything so hard to process. I was an only child too. The last thing I would want to do is cause this kind of pain. Sure, my mom drove me crazy at times, but I would not trade my parents for the world. I would never want them to experience this kind of pain. I can’t imagine the loss being any easier for the Dancys.
Not that this was Leo’s fault. No! I blame the reckless person driving that night. Did he not realize what he did? Did he even remember being at the wheel? No, I am sure he did not care or even remember! I am angry, I just wanted to scream!
Take a deep breath now, Mia. Okay. I have to pull this together. Not sure if I will be able to find the words. I need to just take it easy now. It all will work out. I just hope I can do this.
Come on, Mia. I was sure Leo would not want you to behave this way.
Suddenly, I heard my mother calling, “Come on, dear.”
My hands were already shaking.
She came toward me, and her brow furrowed with concern. “What is it, Mia?”
I pleaded with my eyes. “Mom, my hands will not stop shaking now!”
“Okay. Come here, honey.” She extended her arms to me.
I fell right into them. “Thank you.”
“It is going to be okay, honey.”
I was glad Mom was here. I really needed her and Dad today.
I can do this. Right?