Grieving and Growing Together : Class of 2020
April 15, 2020
My mom always said, “High school will be the best four years of your life.” Being that my first three years of high school weren’t the greatest, I didn’t believe her and I thought that it just sounded really cliche. It wasn’t until this year, my senior year, that I finally felt I was actually living this cliche. I went to things and actually had a good time. I was participating in dress-up days and having fun at rallies. I had a solid friend group for once in four years, one that I went to football games, and dances with, and went off campus with for lunch almost every day. I finally felt that “best four years of my life” feeling that my mother had always told me about. And in a matter of days, it was all gone.
Because nobody expected this. We weren’t ready and we didn’t get enough time. .
We needed more time together as a class, with our teachers, with our friends, and our school. These are people we’ve been in school with most of us for at least seven years. We’ve grown up together; during this time at school, a lot of us probably saw each other more than our own families. We’re all we’ve known up to this point before we go out into the world.
For those of us in choir, band, dance, sports, drama. These extracurriculars that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into for four years, some of us more. Some of us won’t go on our last jazz tour or choir tour, we won’t compete in that last festival; there’ll be no final concert, no last curtain call for us. For the athletes that won’t compete in their last meet, their last game; no ending to a career that may or may not be continuing further past high school. To the teammates, coaches, directors; no final goodbye, no way to thank them so they can truly understand what they’ve meant to us after all these years.
We feel stupid to grieve this loss. “Things could be worse. You’re lucky and you should be thankful this is all you’ve lost. Life goes on.” This isn’t to say that these statements aren’t true. We understand that thus far we should count ourselves lucky to have our health and that it’s “just another school year” that we’re missing. But please, try to understand that there’s so much more to it than that for us. I have friends leaving the state for college and I don’t know when I’ll see them next or if I’ll get to tell them goodbye. These events, these school days we’re missing may have been our last ones to spend with people who have impacted our lives and helped to make us who we are today.
So whether it’s your older brother or sister, your son or daughter, niece or nephew. If they find that the loss is getting to them or they’re trying not to feel it, let them. Grieve it with them. No one should endure this alone because everyone has lost or had something upended because of COVID-19. So feel those losses together and help each other through it, because we will get through it. For now, take it one day at a time and just keep trying.