A year has passed, and I still can’t help but cry as I recall 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 Dancys 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 was like some horrible nightmare. How could it be happening? We just graduated from high school in June. This made 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 was everywhere. The pictures behind me were 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 haven’t been able to even leave my room.
I passed out for a while 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’m up.” I look down, for fear she’ll catch me rolling my eyes.
“Mia, I know what you’re doing, dear.”
“Oh, and what is that?” I asked.
“Come on, dear. I know you.”
Since I didn’t 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’m just worried that you won’t be able to get through this day.”
“Mom, I’ll be fine!”
She sighed and shook her head. “Okay, Mia. I’m 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 shook her hand off my shoulder. “I’m 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 am I going to get through this?
As I looked around at the large crowd of people walking towards me, my first reaction was to run. I didn’t want to talk to anyone.
Goodness, as if this day wasn’t hard enough!
I knew this was what Leo would have wanted. I took solace in knowing everyone who loved him is here. Still, I couldn’t 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 wasn’t 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 know God exists. At the same time, why did He take 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 wouldn’t 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. Didn’t he realize what he did? Did he even remember being at the wheel? No, I’m sure he didn’t care or even remember! I’m angry and I just want to scream!
Take a deep breath now, Mia. Okay. I have to pull this together. Not sure if I’ll 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.
I was sure Leo wouldn’t want me to behave this way. Suddenly, I heard my mother calling, My hands were already shaking.
I pleaded with my eyes. “Mom, my hands won’t stop shaking now!”
“Okay. Come here, honey.” She extended her arms to me. I fell right into them. “Thank you.”
“It’s going to be okay, honey.”
I was glad Mom was here. I really needed her and Dad today.
I can do this. Right?