I am lucky enough to say, I have never had someone close to me pass away my whole life. I never learned how to deal with loss and the grieving that follows. I was the girl who consoled her friends when they lost a grandparent, mom, dad, or anyone else dear to their hearts, but I had no idea how to empathize with them genuinely.

This was all until November 3rd, 2018 when Chase "Sosa" Suggs, a classmate and a friend, passed away. No one knew how to react or how to feel because many were with Chase the day before and others reminisced on all the times he was in their class or homeroom. I know I was never extremely close to him, but Chase's contagious smile and laugh replayed through my head and I am sure the same thing happened to many other people from my hometown.

I had never experienced this kind of loss before, but it made me realize I need to laugh louder. Chase always knew how to make everyone laugh, even if he had annoyed to ten seconds before. He did not care what people thought because he was already laughing at what they said. You were never bored when you were in Chase's presence, even if it was just homeroom and he was laughing at your gossiping.

So, this year, make sure to laugh louder than you have before and do not be afraid of what people say. Chase taught everyone laughing is the best cure for any situation. He was always happy, so it is time we lived like there is no tomorrow.

Everyone from my town started laughing harder and living life to the fullest not only because we knew that is what Chase wanted it, but also because we realized that life is way too short to waste it.

In the past year, not only did my hometown learn to laugh louder, but we also learned to love harder. Sadly, this lesson came after January 27th, 2019 when Steven "11" Kendrick, a classmate and a friend, passed away. Everyone was in complete and utter shock, we had just lost Chase and never in a million years believed another friend we graduated with would be gone so soon from our lives. Steven had one of the kindest hearts I have ever experienced. Steven was always kind to everyone, no matter who they were or who they hung out with. Steven was one of the best teammates anyone could ask for, he would not only help you hone in your skills, but he would also lend a listening year any time you needed. Not to mention, Steven could also make you realize how small your problem was in the big scheme of things.

I have so many memories from Government class with him, where he would speak his mind fearlessly and make everyone die of laughter at the same time. I watched him fall in love with a fantastic girl, and you could see his heart grow even bigger than it was before.

This year, make sure to love harder and to never give up on love. Steven made everyone realize, love may hurt sometimes, but the pain is worth it. He was always kind, so it is time we loved as hard as we can.

Everyone from my town is starting to love harder and keep in contact with the people we have failed to do that with because life is short and we never know what is going to happen.

Overall, everyone needs to love harder and laugh louder this year.

I am not just saying to do it in honor of Chase and Steven, but for yourself. They were both taken from this world at such a young age, but they both lived life to the fullest. Whether it was missing school to go hunting or missing school to be with friends, they both lived in the moment and were the happiest people I have ever been around.

If you remember one thing from this article, please remember to live life to the fullest because that is what they would want for you since they did not get to do the same.

This one is for you two, Sosa and Steven. LONG LIVE SOSA, LONG LIVE #11. Laugh even louder and love even harder for us in heaven.