So this is the big one. It has been ten years since Therisa died. I can't believe how fast the time has gone and how old I am getting now. I remember every second of my time with her and I remember every second of the day I found out she had died. She was one of those people who would have grown up to really be someone. To really do something. I truly believe with all my heart that she had unlimited potential and sadly she was gone well before her time.
I don't know if I have ever really spoken about her but I will now. Her and I were very close all through middle school and high school. We even shared a locker together. We had some great times and some great memories. I still miss her all the time and her death had a huge impact on my life. But, now that I have ten years of perspective on it, I realize that some good changes in my life personally happened that may not have happened had she not died. I still wish she was here with us though.
I have very few regrets in my life but I am about to tell all of you the biggest regret in my life which I share with very few people (until now that is). It was our high school prom and I had taken another friend of mine to the prom and Therisa also had another date as well ( I can't remember who) but anyway she asked me to dance with her. I would have loved to dance with her but it was a rap song playing. Those of you who know me, know I don't dance. So I told her no. She said to me "Come on Tyler just feel the beat and dance with me" I again told her no. I never got another chance to dance with her because she died.
If I could go back to any moment in time it would be that one. I would dance with her all night long. To any song. I have regretted my whole life that I turned her down and never got another chance to dance with her.
I remember the night she died, I saw her at the football game and we talked and she hugged me and then she left with some friends in her car. I remember how she smelled, how she felt. I remember every detail. The next morning on Saturday I was going to my college credit class and I stopped at the donut store for breakfast. I saw a girl I went to school with there, she told me Therisa had died the previous night. I didn't believe her, I couldn't believe her. So I continued to my college class. I arrived at sat down then someone called my phone and told me Therisa had died. It was then that it sunk in and my whole world just collapsed.
At 18 years old I had never ever been through anything so traumatic. I didn't know how to deal with my emotions. So I left my college class and drove straight to the high school where they were having a impromptu memorial service for her. I just remember everyone crying and these few women actually screaming. (Therisa was not the only person killed that night) I remember the pain and sadness.
After that, I went with my mom to Therisa's viewing. They had her in the casket in a pink fuzzy sweater but it didn't look like her at all. I wish I hadn't have gone. I hated viewings and I still do. For her funeral they played Lee Ann Womack's "I hope you dance" after she was buried, for days I couldn't sleep.
At first I just didn't know how to process all of this. I was so deeply sad and lost. Then I was angry at God and at everyone and everything. Finally came the acceptance that she was gone and she wasn't coming back. But for years I searched for that magic bullet answer of why she had to die so young and why she was taken from this world. I talked to so many different people and no one could give me an answer that satisfied me.
Then one afternoon, I was visiting her grave site alone and I was really hurting. But I saw this man there and he was visiting the grave of his son who had died. It was just him and I in the whole cemetery. I am going to keep the details of our conversation private because they are deeply personal to me. But, he really truly helped me. I never got his name and I never saw him again but I will never forget that man or what he said to me.
Now ten years later I can look back on all this and know that her death had a purpose. It was so hard to go through that for me (and for all her family and friends) but she changed my life and really changed me. It has not all been terrible though. I still have the great memories and I will never forget her. She is dead and not coming back but one day I truly believe I will see her again. I love you Therisa.
So that is my story. Ten years from now I still won't have forgotten her. If there is someone you love then tell them if you haven't told them. If you have told them, tell them again. You never know when your time is up. -Tyler