“Hard times, gonna take you down and laugh when you cry” – Paramore
Ever since Paramore released their two new singles for their latest album, I’ve been listening to their music, both old and new, non-stop! But I only really took the time to listen to the lyrics for Hard Times, recently and it, kind of, inspired me to finally write about something I didn’t think I would have to experience whilst on my year on exchange.
Please bear with me, I’ve been wanting to publish this particular post for a while, but I always struggled to find the right words to fully express how I felt until I started to talk about it with my friends and loved ones, and I was finally ready to let go and keep going on with my life. But I think it’s only fitting that I publish this today, as it has officially been one month since the incident.
I’ve learned to realize that in my soon-to-be 21 years of living, there are certain things that life and school doesn’t prepare you for. Whether it be how to pay taxes, how to apply for insurance, the list goes on. And for me, I had to learn how to grieve the sudden death of a friend, whilst being thousands of kilometres away from my loved ones, on exchange.
For me personally, there’s different ways of dealing with grief depending on the circumstances. For example, when you lose a family member or loved one to an illness, especially if they’re of an older age, you already know in the back of your mind, that you had to prepare for that day to come because you know they weren’t getting any better and that their time here on this earth is coming to an end. And then there’s a different kind of sadness felt when you lose someone close to you to suicide, and you feel hopeless because there’s that feeling of “if only you knew, you could’ve done more to show that person that you love and care for them” or something along those lines. But no one prepares you for the kind of grief and emotions you experience when you lose a friend, especially at such a young age, to a simple car accident.
I met this guy during my weekend away to see Iguazu Falls a couple of months ago, so I hadn’t known him for very long. But he was one of the most genuine people I have met, and was always looking out for my friends and I whenever we went out. We said our goodbyes after that weekend, talking about how we’ll see each other around and hang out again. Only, that was my first and last goodbye that I would ever get from him again.
About a week or two after that trip, I was at a jazz bar with my friends, and one of them comes up to me and says that our mate from Iguazu got into a car accident whilst walking along the streets of Buenos Aires and was in a coma. So the next few days I kept thinking and praying for him, and then one day I had a sudden change of moods. I became snappy towards my boyfriend, I refused to go out with my friends, and I remembered feeling so weird like something was off, thinking it was just my time of the month again and my emotions getting whack. Only to have my friend tell me the next day that our mate had passed away whilst still in hospital. Maybe there was a part of me that knew he had passed, hence the weird feeling, but who knows?
I remember the next 10-15 minutes after hearing the news so vividly. I had gotten home from a great lunch out with one of my uni mates, and suddenly I was in shock. And I knew the only person I could call was my boyfriend, even though at the time it was about 4am in Sydney. And as soon as he answered, and I had the strength to tell him what happened, I cried hysterically. And I couldn’t control my breathing. It was one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had to date. But it was so strange because I hadn’t known the guy for very long, and yet I was reacting in this way. After my boyfriend let me cry to him, calm myself down and process everything, I let him go back to sleep and I gave myself time to reflect on everything that had just happened.
For the most part, I wasn’t angry at God for taking away my friend so soon and so suddenly, I was just saddened at the fact, that he was on his semester abroad just like me, in his mid-20s, except I’m still here and he’s gone. And I could only imagine what his family and loved ones were going through. And I kept thinking to myself, that it could happen to anybody. They were numerous times where I’d be walking around Buenos Aires and I would almost get hit by a car, either because I was on my earphones and not paying much attention to the roads, or drivers weren’t checking their blind spots. And I couldn’t help but feel paranoid for the next week. I still refused to hang out with my friends for another two weeks because I needed that time alone to grieve and accept everything that had happened. But that’s all I needed. Time. Time to tell my family and my boyfriend that I love them. Time to listen to uplifting music. Time to sit down and focus on uni work as a distraction. Time to eventually be ready to talk to my friends about it, and surround myself with people who knew how to make me laugh when I wanted to cry (as Paramore likes to put it).
It’s been one month since he passed away, and there are moments where I’m with my friends and think of him, but I know that he is with God right now, looking down and watching over us during our travels around South America. Although I didn’t know him for very long, he was one of the people that made my trip to Iguazu so memorable, and for that, I thank him for giving me some awesome memories with him and my friends. And if there’s anything that I’d like for you to take from this story, it’s to never ever take time and your loved ones for granted. Because you never know when God decides to take them away from us, for whatever reason that may be.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. From the gates of hell, deliver his soul, O Lord. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Hasta luego, ¡besos y abrazos!
Love, Marie ♡