The summer going into my junior year, I received horrible news that shakes me to my core even now. I remember vividly where I was, I remember the sound I made when I read that my friend Kris had died the night before due to complications with his surgery. Kris was a year older than me and he was one of the first people to say hi to me my freshman year. Wandering the unfamiliar halls and finding the right classroom had me nervous and out of place. Eighth grade didn’t prepare me for this! There were three floors I had to navigate through now and locker combinations to remember.
But Kris was a bright light my freshman year. He always had this big, infectious smile and high fived everyone he bumped into in the hallway. I had the privilege of having Kris in my Building Life Skills class a.k.a home ec. Whenever he and I would be partnered up, I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling at his goofiness. He had this aura about him that made you feel so comfortable and loved. He was everybody’s friend.
So when I heard the news that this beautiful soul, my friend had passed away I didn’t believe it at first. How could such a terrible thing happen to such a fantastic young man? He had his whole life in front of him, he had so many friends that supported him and a strong family that loved him to his bones. It wasn’t fair, as childish and as petulant as it sounds, it just wasn’t fair.
I was sitting on the edge of my bathtub, waiting for the water to rise for my bath when I got the dreaded text message that Kris had died the previous night. Tears blurred my vision and I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. The tears began to flow freely once I realized that this was real. I just wanted things to go back to the way they were. I remember crying at his memorial, not fully understanding that he was gone. I held a crinkled tissue in my sweaty palm as my eyes bore into the photograph in front of me. It was one I’ve seen before, maybe on Instagram or something, and he was smiling so bright like I had seen countless times.
I was lucky to have attended a high school like Roger Bacon. We are a small school which allows us to befriend everyone. We called ourselves "Body Bacon" because we are one body, united through our core values like fraternity, compassion and gratefulness. I struggled with that last one, how could I be grateful at a time like this? Then I slowly began to realize that I am grateful for having known Kris. I am grateful to have had him as friend and I am forever grateful for the time we shared together. As a student senator, I was in charge of making the senior’s farewell video for their last day of school. I remember sitting at the computer, racking my mind for the perfect way to commemorate Kris. It had to be perfect. But there was no way to capture who Kris was in a three minute segment. So a classmate and I did what we thought would be the best way to remember him. We interviewed his friends and asked them what their favorite memory of Kris was. That and along with videos of him dancing (his favorite thing to do) and pictures throughout his high school, I was happy with the outcome.
The basketball games just weren’t the same without his pep and loud, booming voice cheering our players on. School dances weren’t the same without his wicked dance moves. I was a junior when he would have been a senior and even I noticed the senior class wasn’t the same. Roger Bacon High School’s light dimmed when Kris was gone. Long may his spirit reign and may he never be forgotten.