After the Storm Blows Through

Just when things are starting to look up, some weird force in the universe wants to bring us all back down. It is the law of gravity that shoves itself into my everyday life. Thanks, Newton.

I woke up yesterday morning to another one of those “See Your Memories” pop ups on my Facebook. It was a photo of a kid actor on Full House that I told Jino was his doppelganger four years ago. I still think it’s true, but it led me to think about Jino and how much I (and the world) miss him. He was brilliant and destined for the most fabulous things in life. I only hope that he is finding that happiness and love in Heaven.

Later, Mads texted our group chat asking if any of us wanted to go watch the sunset. If I haven’t said it before, San Luis Obispo has the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. I keep missing them because I am inside doing homework or busy or in church, so I jumped at this chance.

On our way out, there was some sort of commotion on the train tracks: ambulances, cop cars, firetrucks…the whole nine yards. A month or so ago, a student jumped in front of a train and killed himself, and this only brought me to flashbacks of that incident and Jino. At this point, all we knew was that it was a fatal accident with a pedestrian.

So Mads drove Tori and I out to Prefumo Canyon (a place I have never been) to watch the sunset. Being on that hilltop and seeing green rolling hills for miles around and looking at how the water glittered against the setting sun was enough to take my mind away from the world.

I was on top of it, feeling as free as I ever have.

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Coming back to reality, we discovered that the pedestrian was a young man who was listening to his headphones and not paying attention. He died that evening in the hospital. I was speechless, wondering how this could have happened.

I am praying for him, that he finds peace in Heaven with God. I am praying for his family, that they keep their love strong and that they pull through this tragedy. I am praying for his friends, that they cherish each other and remember him in only the best ways. Nobody deserves this, but I hope this can be a wake up call for others to be more aware of their surroundings and more appreciative of the people in their lives.

From thinking about Jino to thinking about this young man, I am sad. That’s just it. Sad. But it only encourages me to live my life to the fullest, as cliche as that sounds. I do not want to sit back in my bedroom and watch everyone else make memories. I want to travel and I want to write and I want to experience all that the world has to offer.

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It reminds me how precious and fragile life can be. When I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I don’t want to see the same images of me alone in my room, I want to see me with my friends doing crazy things, I want to see all the memories I have made throughout my years. I only hope that I get to live to see many more birthdays. I almost let my life slip away from me, and I do not want that to happen to me again.

We will mourn the loss of a member of our Mustang family, but we will not let his death bring us down. We will come out of this stronger.

And to Jino: I miss you like crazy, dude, but I hope this decision led you to peace. You still deserve nothing but the best.

-Ash

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