So Long, Farewell, to You My Friend

Empty chairs at empty tables at the writing center. The writing center is officially closed for the summer. This last month of school as seniors were on project and underclassmen were preparing for the end of school, the writing center remained open as a beacon of light for students who need literary advice and wanted that final A on that last writing assignment. At times throughout the school year, the writing center was a hub of energy but throughout it all it remained as a place of calm. As two of the three writing interns left, we can testify to the stillness of the writing center but there was still a trickle of students to interrupt our quiet times. In this last month as we conferenced with students to help them become better writers, it became hard to believe that this was only the first year of the writing center’s existence. The writing center has comfortably found its place in Shaker, now it only needs to expand. As our director gets ready for next year’s batch of interns, we’ve been devising plans to extend the reach of the writing center. Those plans include hosting workshops and the addition of an OWL (Online Writing Lab).  As we sign off on our senior project and end our time in the writing center, we are excited for its future. We were a part of its inaugural year and helped to build it up, and now we can’t wait to see the soaring heights that the writing center and its interns will reach.
-Kathleen and Maria White

Dear Child of Cancer Parent,

Dear Whomever This Concerns,
I just want to start by saying it all sucks. There’s no better way to say it, honestly. You’re going to go through days, months, years of people trying to lift you up and inspire you but sometimes you just need to say it: “This SUCKS.” I used to ask myself, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?”
Well, the answer is simple: you did nothing to deserve this.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason (and you’re going to get sick of hearing that) and maybe we won’t like the reason, but there is one nevertheless. I never planned for my Mom to suffer and die. I never wanted this. But it happened and there’s only one thing to do: keep going. Keep going. As an optimist, I look at the past eight years with a bittersweet lens. Although the past eight years took away my childhood and put me through the greatest tragedy of my life, I learned things that many never learn until their later years.
So here’s what I say:
You can never take for granted the love of those around you. Sometimes it’s really hard to love, especially when you feel like the world wants to take you down. Love more than you feel you can. Love vigorously.
Material possessions are temporary, your relationships last forever. I would give up all I have in this world just to hear my Mom’s voice again, to hug her again. Hold onto the love you have. Don’t worry about the material world around you, what you have with your loved one is the only thing that matters.
It’s totally okay to cry. It’s totally not okay to cry and to not pick yourself up after it. It is essential that you take care of yourself. Never stay down for too long. It will wreck you. Find the joy in your life and balance it with the bad.
If you have a strong sense of self, you will be able to endure anything. Never lose sight of who you are, you can’t afford to. You have to be sure in yourself and the people around you will be able to lean on you. You have no choice. Love YOU!
There will be days when you look up to see your loved one truly struggling. They will try to be strong for you but let them know they don’t have to be. They’re allowed to cry on your shoulder and you have to be there to offer your shoulder. They’re going to want to hide their weakness from you but you have to be open and let them show their true hurt.
It’s so easy to fall into despair but it’s up to you proactively keep yourself out of hole. I know I keep saying it’s up to you and that’s a heavy weight to hold on your shoulders. People often say that when you love, you risk hurting. Although this is most likely attempting to comfort an angsty teen, I believe in this statement in a more unconventional way. I think this means that when you love, you risk going through the bad times and hurting with your loved one. Yet, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that this is the risk that keeps us alive and creates a love deeper than any pit of despair you’ll dig yourself into.
Keep loving and you’ll get through this. I promise.
I don’t know you but I love you and in your struggle I hope you find this same sense of love. You got this.
Much love,

Gus Mahoney