Last week, I heard the unfortunate news of a childhood/family friend’s passing. He died because a drug overdose. Stanley was 22 and had struggled with depression for most of his life. Hearing about his death was inexplicable. A life ended so young. Though I hadn’t seen him for over four years, I saw his mom a few times a month. I knew he was having trouble but even still, I was shocked when I heard that he was gone. Stanley was a cool guy. He made friends with everyone and was fun to be around. When we first met freshmen year of high school, Stanley did not appreciate my sarcastic sense of humor. In fact, he was the first person that I can recall getting very upset with me because he took my jokes seriously. That was weird for me, since mostly everyone knew I always joking around and saying things sarcastically. It was a reality check for me and helped me realize that my sense of humor wasn’t appropriate at certain times with some people. I think that made a little more tolerable as a teenager as well.
On Sunday, my mom and I went to the funeral home for Stanley’s wake. The room was bigger than most but even then, there wasn’t enough space for all the people who were there. Many people came to pay their respects to Stanley’s mom and sister and that was great but I noticed something that made me really upset: people don’t know how to act at funerals. It’s like if people forget the pain that the family is feeling and they let their emotions get ahold of them. Yes, a young man’s death is a tragic thing and while it’s healthy to cry and grieve for the deceased, crying hysterically and causing a scene at the funeral home is just not right. We can’t imagine what the family is going through and our job as family and friends is to pray for and help that family, not make things harder by talking about how awful it is that he died so young. They already know that. Talking loudly over the phone is never cool either.
I’ve noticed this in many funerals but I think it struck me more because it was a young friend’s wake and there were so many people doing the same thing there.
So while Stanley and I hadn’t spoken in years before he passed, there are memories of him that will stay with me, like the group trip to DC and Christmas party at our house. Thanks to Stanley, I learned how to take others feelings into consideration and for that, I will never forget him.