o-jahnletter

Editor’s note: This article mentions death.

Dear reader,

As graduation grows ever nearer, I can’t help but to reflect on my time at college. I think that is to be expected for any soon-to-be graduate. I find myself thinking back to my freshman year of college specifically, and I am overwhelmed with emotion. 

My first year of college was one of the hardest points in my life. 

During spring break, I remember running errands with my parents and suddenly receiving a Snapchat message from a friend, informing me that my roommate — my friend — died. It didn’t register right away, but once it started to sink in, I started sobbing. 

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think of her. 

I think with any sort of milestone you reach in life, your mind is especially drawn back to the loved ones you have lost and any and all memories you have of them. 

As I think of graduation, I start thinking of her. I wonder if she would be graduating this semester too, or maybe she would need another semester of school and be a super senior instead. I wonder if she would be working at the same job, or maybe she would have gotten to do an internship. I wonder what classes she would have ended up taking and if she would have enjoyed them or not. 

I wonder and wonder until the brick wall of grief hits me. 

Grief can take many shapes and forms, but I believe it is never truly over. Even though it has been a few years, there are still moments where her death doesn’t feel real, and it’s like I’m reliving the moment I found out all over again. 

There’s an odd sense of guilt that plagues the back of your mind. I hear it’s one of the types of survivor’s guilt — general survivor’s guilt — where people have feelings of guilt with living and going on after someone dies. I will continue to grow and change while she is stunted in time, only living in my memory.

There’s a sense of injustice and unfairness to it all.

I try to focus on the memories though. She was such an amazing and caring person, and she’ll always be a part of my life. I want to share some of my favorite memories of her as a small tribute.

She loved “Supernatural” and “Criminal Minds.” I remember we watched all the seasons available of “Criminal Minds,” and we were so heartbroken when we realized Netflix didn’t have all the seasons on there. We absolutely loved Penelope Garcia and Spencer Reid.

I remember every time we went driving somewhere in her car, she would always have the “Moana” soundtrack playing.

We never failed to make each other laugh over the dumbest of jokes, which definitely became necessary when we spent hours together studying for our finals and daydreaming about winter break and Christmas. 

We would always decorate our dorm room for holidays. For November, we bought one of those gel window clings of an owl and originally we put it on our door. Given that this was a dorm, people kept messing with it, so we put the owl on one of the walls inside our dorm. That turned out to be a regrettable decision.

When we went to take the owl off, there was a stain of it on the wall. A visible stain. An incredibly visible stain. 

We tried OxiClean sponges to get it off, but no luck. 

Finally, we decided to go to Target and get a can of white spray paint. When we got back to our dorm, we opened our window — pretending that would give us enough ventilation — and we spray painted the wall where our owl friend was.

I’m not sure if we were laughing so hard because of how the owl was finally disappearing and we were going to get away with this, or the fact that we were getting high off the fumes. Maybe a bit of both. 

Although I am sad that I won’t be able to continue making more memories with her, I am still grateful for the time I was able to spend with her. 

For those of you who have lost a loved one, I implore you to pay tribute or celebrate them in some way, big or small. 

Sincerely,

Carly

Carly Jahn is a senior journalism major. Reach her at carlyjahn@dailynebraskan.com