I did not want to write this week. Articles were due earlier than normal because of the 4th of July, and I just didn't feel like I could write anything with how I was feeling. One of my close friends passed away tragically on June 23rd, and my heart is shattered.
He and I were good friends, but there were others who knew him even better than I did. My heart breaks for the boys who were brothers to him, and for the girls who loved him with all their hearts. Chayce was the star of our theater drama department. He shined brightly no matter what. My theater family is devastated. But the people who need prayers the most are his family, and especially his mother. He was her everything and I cannot begin to fathom how she feels.
As I contemplated emailing my editor to say I cannot write for this week, I begin to type that I can no longer write for the Odyssey at all because nothing seems right in this world anymore. The week before Chayce died, my family just buried my great grandmother, and I figured that I needed a break from writing to process everything and grieve.
Before I sent the message, a Chayce memory popped in my head. Last semester, he had messaged me and asked about the articles I was posting on social media. When I told him that I had been writing the articles, he said," Raegan, that is so awesome. I am so proud of you. Please keep it up!"
How could I ignore him? He knew this was my passion. Being a writer is who I am. I could never give it up. With that being said, what else could I write about this week? Thoughts of Chayce and the whole situation are flooding my mind. Chayce Dean, you left me no choice. This one is for you CT.
Since I was told the devastating news, I kept thinking it was a sick, cruel joke. I thought that I would wake up and it would all be over. But it's not. It's a living nightmare that no one is waking up from.
Chayce touched so many lives. I had the pleasure of meeting him during my seventh grade year, and we were often seated next to each other in class because of our last names being close together. We never complained though because we were good friends.
The first semester of our freshmen year in high school, Chayce and I were in the same theatre class. He and I were paired up for our final scene of the semester. It was a scene from Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon. We worked well together, and I will forever cherish every time we were on stage.
He loved his friends. Chayce was talented, intelligent, and loved by so many. To his audiences, he brought laughter and real emotion. An actor's job is to make the audience believe in your performance, and Chayce gave it his all each time. He was devoted to the stage.
I will never understand why he left this world so soon. I never imagined that I would lose a friend at nineteen years old. I remember the last picture we took together, and I remember the last time I saw Chayce. I remember how brightly he smiled, how tight he hugged, and how much he loved others.
Former players always come back to see the current players' shows. We just can't stay anyway. Last month, I saw him after closing night of our high school's show. He gave me a huge hug in the parking lot saying he loved and missed me.
I have no idea how to feel and I certainly don't know what to do, but I plan on focusing on the good memories of him.
Maya Angelou said, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel."
And Chayce left his impact on each person he came into contact with by the way he makes you feel.
Chayce, I will never forget how we helped lead middle school FCA together, all the times we sat next to each other in class, homeroom, the time you taught me how to drive a stick, our last show together senior year, late night tech days, our talks or anything about you. I will always remember you, and you will forever be in my heart as well as so many others in our community.
Our high school graduation song was See You Again by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. I want to rededicate that song for you. It became the most perfect song for our class even though I despise the reason. Chayce you left us way too soon. Whenever I hear that song, I will picture you walking across the stage with your diploma and your smile stretched wide.
Please keep the Thompson family, the West Stanly Players, the WSHS class of 2016, his friends, and all the other lives he impacted in your prayers.
I love you buddy, and you will be dearly missed.