I grew up with two kids, Shawn and Bobby, who were brothers to me. They had different parents, but they were my brothers. Shawn and I were the same age, Bobby was a year younger. We played together in the playpen. I cannot remember my life prior to knowing them.
One day when I was 13, I came home from school and my mother told me that Shawn and Bobby were moving to North Carolina. Their dad had found a good job there. A few months later I came home from school one day and mom told me that their parents were getting a divorce. A few months after that I came home from school and my mother was on the phone. Something was clearly wrong. You know how, when you're a kid, you can just tell? I could tell. Something serious was wrong. When my mom hung up the phone she told me that another kid had somehow gotten a gun, and the kid had been playing with the gun, and Bobby had been shot and killed.
I literally cannot remember the next three days of my life. I know that I freaked out in English class at some point, but I can't remember what I said or how it was resolved. I can remember going to the funeral and feeling terrified, but I can't remember any specifics. And I can remember standing on the Bobby's Grandmother's front porch, and Bobby's mother holding me, and both of us crying so hard that it felt like the crying would kill us. Like we were crying harder than human bodies could cry without dying. It was like we were crying for every single person who had ever died, and every one of us left behind.
All of that played a role in the adult that I became, if you can call what I am now an adult. I don't get close to people easily. I never seem to think it's worth the risk. When I do get close to people, I become somewhat obsessed with a morbid fear of losing them. Eventually, in one way or another, I always do lose them. That's how life works. It isn't really a good thing or a bad thing, it's just how it works. Life is a combination of good and bad, joy and loss. You can't have one without the other. I know that. I think about it constantly. Because of that, I sometimes avoid forming bonds, and I sometimes obsess over losing the people I love.
I honestly do not know which is worse; living with the inevitability of loss, or living without it.