Thirteen years; seems like quite a long time, doesn’t it? Well over a decade, and if counted from birth, takes up most of your childhood life; yes thirteen years can be seen as a substantial amount of time– a lengthy period of life. Well, at least until it’s understood that thirteen years actually stands for the age a young boy was killed at, and suddenly thirteen, that substantial amount of our lives, seems unfair; thirteen becomes too low a number, too young an age, too short a life. For this boy, it was indeed, too short a life.
He was an energetic child; participating in numerous sports as he grew up, baseball being his favorite I believe; him and I would often play together in our neighborhood when I was younger. Remembering him like this, as he was, it only causes me to ponder the question more, to search for the answer harder, and to ask myself constantly: Why didn’t I cry?
It’s commonly used to express some of our strongest emotions, crying; during periods of intense joy or surprise, dark times of death, and unbearable moments of pain, whether it be physical or emotional. We cry as humans to help convey our states, yet I never did. Not for Trevor. I found myself awake during the nights after his funeral service, seeing his coffin slowly brought to the altar, his mother, a woman I found delightful and always happy, wiping her eyes repeatedly with a handkerchief, understandably unable to withhold her tears. Yet, as I would imagine his mother, and see her tears rolling down her cheeks, just as I had seen when I was present at the service, I would find my ducts remaining dry. I hated myself for this fact. He had been taken too early, he had been my friend; it would be believed that I could at least manage a few tears of sadness for this boy, but they would not come. They would not roll, and I would continuously lay awake questioning my true feelings for this boy, the doubts creeping in: he never was my friend, I couldn’t cry because I never liked him; they were false thoughts but they drowned my consciousness for days, fading but never leaving me even weeks after his passing. I had to cry, had to show that I felt his loss, that it hung heavy from me, that I was affected, and I was, truly there was space where he had been, my life was no longer whole, yet I could not cry, could not produce one damn tear. It tooks weeks for me to understand, hours of suffering through personal guilt followed by reflection, but I did come to an understanding; tears did not have to flow, for my grief to be known.
Trevor Smith died on June 15, 2012, after being run over by a trailer while pushing the truck that was towing it. I heard the news while at a track meet, came home over the weekend, went to his funeral service, watched his coffin, the size of it only reminding me of the young one took too early inside, lowered into the ground. I still remember the boy that was lost, for Trevor is not a person you can forget, his spirit easily living on in the memories of all who met him, even once. My ducts remain dry, as they have since I first heard of his death, yet I am no longer plagued by doubts, haunted by guilt. I did not cry for him, I can admit it, but tears are not necessary, and I understand this truth now. Grief is expressed in many ways. Through reflection, through recollection, through recall, one can show, at least to themselves, the emotions they are feeling, even if the rest of the world never understands.