Remembering Dimitrius: My Friend, My Brother

Remembering Dimitrius: My Friend, My Brother

He probably knew. But he loved me as a brother, a friend, a soul.

Dimitrius Wilson had his head face down on his desk. He assumed it was a stomach ache, considering the immense pain coming from his lower abdominal area. He did what any other sixth grader would do and walked down the three flights of middle school stairs to the nurse’s room conveniently located next to the exit of the school building.

When his mother came to pick him up, he was probably told that he was going to be just fine. Everyone gets stomach ache every once in awhile. Whether you’re five, 13 (as Dimitrius was), or 50, we’ve all ingested something that our body did not take so kindly. So sure, I had no doubt in my mind that he would be back the next day.

Since kindergarten, I’ve always seen his face in school. Adept in basketball, soccer, and track and field, Dimitrius was in prime shape. Always active, always on the run. Of course he’d be okay. His health was something I would never have to question. I was going to see him the next day.

Subsequently, I didn’t. Shockingly, he wasn’t there the day after either. “Must’ve been a serious case of the flu," I thought.

Days turned to weeks. Then weeks turned to months. Two months, five months, 10 months, one year, a year and a half. I was afraid many times that he was dead or went missing. I’d ask other mutual friends where he was and how he was doing. One mutual friend told me he was doing okay. However, the reason still evaded me.

One day, I was walking toward a bodega to get myself a bite when I saw signs of Dimitrius’s face on every light pole in town. It was his toddler portrait. Large porcelain cheeks with a smile that would melt any mother’s heart. To my relief, the sign was not a plea to find a missing child.

The sign instead asked for a donation of blood marrow. At the time, I had no experience in Anatomy and Physiology whatsoever, but I could tell you that a dolphin is a mammal and not a fish. So as an up and coming “scientist," I used good old Google to see why my best friend was in need of this “bone marrow."

I was torn. WebMD did its job in breaking my heart when the website told me that he might be diagnosed with Leukemia, cancer that produces abnormal leukocytes (a type of white blood cell that fights pathogens). It was confirmed by his mother. The idea of losing my closest friend to cancer grew on me day by day.

I got to see him in the summer of 2011. He lived about a five-minute walk from the high school, behind the turf football field and up the hill. His famed afro had disappeared. All the chemotherapy, medication, and time off had taken a huge toll on his health and hair.

A three-sport athlete turned sickly cancer patient. His smile and personality never changed, and that’s what I loved most about him. As hurt as he was, he never gave up. He always joked around when we played Xbox or competed together on the soccer team.

He still had the same enthusiasm as he did when he was in perfect health. Halfway through my freshman year, I was given a big surprise. That morning before my first-period class, I saw Dimitrius with a bookbag on. Elated, I ran up to him and gave him the biggest hug ever. My best friend was back, albeit temporarily.

He’d only stay for around nine months until his cancer came back and had two more rounds of chemotherapy. It didn’t help much. As the one year passed, the leukemia started to take a toll on his body. He was getting skinnier, much paler, and losing his hair.

He still hid his pain when I would come to visit. The last time I saw him alive was in May of 2014. He was still as happy as I can remember, although he probably faked it. He never wanted me to feel sad. He never wanted to remind me that he was going to die.

He probably knew. But he loved me as a brother, a friend, a soul. And I loved him all the same. He would die on August 31st. He was 17 years old.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.


1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten

Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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How To Get Out Of Your Head And Into The World

Before you waste your time wish you were in the past, take a step back.


Let's face it, we spend way too much time reminiscing. We hear our friends talking about their day, then we remember that one time that we stayed up all night sitting around a campfire with old friends. "Good times", we think to ourselves. Then we scroll through the 6,000 pictures that we hoard in our camera roll. We obsess over how much skinnier we looked in 2015, or how much fun our 16th birthday was. Reminiscing allows us to escape: to a "better" time, a "better" you, a "better" life. Our brains tend to exaggerate the positive emotions associated with any particular memory. We remember the laughs, hugs, and happiness that our high school years brought. But we never remember the bullying, depression, and tears that came with it.

I'm about to be brutally honest here:

You're not perfect. Neither is your life. It never has been, and it never will be. You have to take the bad with the good, and that's life.

So when you are reminiscing about the "good old days", try not to get to caught up in how "great" things seemed then. We have been overcoming obstacles since we left the womb, and just because those obstacles don't pop up in your memory, doesn't mean your life WAS great.

Life IS great. Here. Today. In the present.

If you keep getting hung up in your memories, you will never be able to make new ones. It's like watching the same movie over and over again. It doesn't matter how great the movie is, eventually you have to move on. Change it up. Watch something new.

Okay, I know life is more complex than binge watching movies, but hopefully you are starting to get my drift.

Get out of your head, and get into the world.

Take a walk, host a campfire, check out a new coffee shop, do a random act of kindness for someone. Get out of your camera roll. Make some new memories. I'm not saying that you need a new family and new friends, I'm saying give them a call. Stop stalking their Instagram wishing you could go back to the "good old middle school days." (I hate to break it to you, but middle school was full of acne, bullying, and self-hate.) Before you waste your time wishing you were in the past, take a step back.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Be present.

You got this.

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