They say when you lose a loved one that you go through the seven stages of grief: 1. shock/denial, 2. guilt, 3. anger, 4. depression/reflection/loneliness, 5. the upward turn, 6. reconstruction, and 7. acceptance but everyone grieves in their own way. I personally know what is like to lose family members who I loved dearly but was able to accept their passing for I know they are in a better place.

However, a few months shy of a year ago I lost someone who I was once in love with and still loved even after our break up and I have not fully accepted the fact that he is gone.

We met when I was in 6th grade and he was in 8th grade when I was auditioning for an honor choir, although he paid no attention to me. Years past and we officially met when in chorus during my sophomore year, his senior. I remember like it was yesterday, he sat directly behind me. I remember the day he asked me to be his girlfriend, October 28, 2011. We were practicing for our All-State Choir auditions after school because we shared a passion for music and he was the one who really made me want to pursue music. We also had the bond of having life-threatening illnesses, mine being my lung disease and he having a rare kidney disease. We were there for one another when either of us got sick because we understood the process.

Fast forward a little, we had a very interesting relationship, to say the least. It wasn’t always easy but it wasn’t always bad either. We fell in love and we loved each other with every fiber of our being. But there were some obstacles that got in our way because we were so young and foolish and the fact that he was graduating that year to go off to college.

We ended up breaking things off that summer but we stayed in contact periodically throughout the rest of my high school career. We both dated other people here and there while we remained friends. Once I got to college we decided to give us another go because our feelings for one another did not go away.

We ended up dating a whole year, and during that year we both realized that we were not the same people that we were in high school. He was going down a dark path, hanging around the wrong friend group, doing things that I did not approve of and not taking care of his health like he should have. Even though it was hard to do, I broke up with him because it was the best thing for me even though my love for him was still there and I knew it always would be. We didn't communicate much after that, I was moving on with my life and he was moving on with his. He had to stop school because his illness was affecting his school work, so after he left I never heard or saw him again.

Two weeks before April 19, 2017, I had this gut feeling to contact him. Something deep inside told me that I needed to reach out to him because I sensed something wrong but I didn't. Then I got that phone call, the call that made me feel as if the world stopped for a moment. My mom told me that he had passed away, that his kidneys had failed him. The rest of that day my body was in shock. I didn’t want to believe that he was actually gone because for some reason I believed he would live a long and happy life. I reached stage one of grieving.

I did not attend his funeral because I was dating someone at the time and we had previous engagements that I could not break, and I did not want to miss the opportunity to share something special with the one I was with then. A week after I began to enter stage two.

I was guilty and regretful over the fact that I did not attend his funeral to gain closure, that I didn't try harder to encourage him to do better in life or that I did not reach out to him like I knew I should've. Then I quickly entered stage three, anger.

I was extremely angry over the fact that I wish he took better care of himself, that he did not do what the doctors, his family and friends and myself asked him to and angry at myself for not doing more. I was angry over the fact that you can't save someone if they do not want to be saved. Then I hit stage 4, depression/reflection/loneliness.

I stopped caring about music, even though it was my passion and it wasn't until recently that I realized that a part of the reason was that it was because we shared that together. I got into this hole of wanting to be alone, reflecting on all of our memories, but also grew sad over the fact that I felt wrong to grieve my ex-boyfriend since I was in a relationship with someone else. He was in my past, and I was beginning to fall in love with someone else so why was it affecting me as much as it did? So I decided that I would lock the rest of my emotions away and move on.

Now, after going through yet another breakup, still trying to get over this depression state I am in, and no longer wanting anything to do with music I felt stuck. But with the help of friends, family and the spiritual guidance of my faith in our Lord I have come to stage 5 known as the upward turn.

I took the time to take a step back and think about everything that has gone on in my life this past year. I finally got a sense of calmness now. I lost a part of me and now as I work on stage 6 and eventually stage 7, I know that eventually this void will be filled. Even though I no longer want to pursue music, I am learning how to love it again. I am learning to accept his passing but I know it will not take a day or even a month. I suppressed my feelings and grieving for months and now it is the time I found closure over losing the first boy I ever loved and who had my heart.

Grieving over the loss of a loved one whether it be a parent, grandparent, an extended family member, a friend or a significant other is hard and something that you shouldn't truly go through alone, and let those who want to be there for you. But from what I have learned after losing loved ones is that there is no amount of time that will ever be enough. It is all about finally accepting that the one you lost is in a better place and that they are no longer suffering.

They wouldn't want you to put your life on hold. They wouldn't want you to lose or push those who you care about because you feel it is the right thing to do. The ones you lose want you to live your best life, to not take a pause on things. They would want you to live your life to the fullest.