Reflection on my friend, David

What is life? I hardly ever ask this question until something tragic happens to me or to someone I know, which what happened recently to one of my close friends. Over this past weekend, on Saturday to be specific, I opened my facebook account as usual. I started to browse new postings my friends published on their wall, and I came across one post that took my attention right away. It was a posting that announced the disappearance of one of my friends who went missing while vacationing in Costa Rica. By the time I saw the news, my friend, David, has been missing for about 4 days. He went into a forest, a very dense forest, on his own and failed to come back into his hotel or send a message to his parents saying that he was okay. His parents then contacted the hotel the next day to inquire about him, but the hotel personnel said that he did not come back the night before. The search pretty much started on the next day when the parents flew directly to Costa Rica. By the time the news about David came to me and many of my friends on Saturday, the search and rescue had been going on for a few days. That day was actually the day when David was scheduled to be back to the U.S.

I still remember vividly my reaction when I saw the posting on facebook. The noise that came out of my mouth was half screaming and half gasping because by then I had my hand covering my mouth at the same time. I remember feeling a knot in my stomach, while at the same time feeling nausea too. I was shocked, feeling lost, as if I didn’t know what to do. There was a sense of panic definitely. I went through a pretty restless weekend, couldn’t sleep, lost my appetite, but I remember telling myself to exercise, which I did vigorously, only to feel so exhausted afterwards. I continued to search on the internet and through my friends about any update on David, but there was very little update. I felt like I spent my days so far waiting helplessly.

I have been doing a lot of thinking these past few days and would like to discuss one of them. A thought came to me that weekend that there is a possibility I may never see David’s face in school again, whether in the library, in the computer lab, or in the common area, eating his vegetarian dish from Chipotle. It was a scary thought, and I felt uncomfortable and even guilty for thinking that way. The thought made me even more emotionally exhausted. Lying underneath that thought is the realization of how much I have been taking for granted this thinking that I will always be able to see all of my friends’ faces in school, granted that we’re all still enrolled there. The news about David not only squashed that thinking, but also challenged any previous assumption I had about always being able to see my friends whenever I want to.

So I now come to these existential questions, what exactly was my presumptions about life? What is there that I have taken for granted so far regarding not just David, but also my other friends? If there is anything that I could have done more or said to David before, what would it be? I would like to say and do all of those things now so he can come back to his family in Adler school and to his own family. There is a part me that is wondering if I have treated him well as a friend? Have I done enough for my friend? Then I’m starting to wonder why am I asking all of these questions now? Am I feeling guilty? If I am, why is that so?

I remember my last conversation with David. He walked into the computer lab with a big smile on his face saying that he just finished defending his CQE (one of the qualifying exams that Adler students have to complete). I remember he was wondering about where to go for his vacation the week after. We then moved on to discuss about music, favorite bands, and the “20 Songs note” that has been going around among our facebook friends. It is a list of 20 questions that have to be answered with the titles of one band that is based on our pick. I remember telling him that I would be sending out my own 20 songs note, in which David is one of the many friends I tag the note to. His replied by saying that he would do the same thing with using either the Ramones or another punk rock band as his band of choice. Then he talked further about punk rock, the Ramones, and Green Day. He also mentioned something about going to his practicum site later in the afternoon for a group supervision meeting. That was my last conversation with David. It doesn’t feel that long ago, but it happened exactly two weeks ago. I miss David, and I especially miss his presence in the school. In two weeks I will start my internship in the same building as my school, and I hope hard that he’ll be back by then. Otherwise, the building would not feel the same without him.

My friend, be safe out there. Your family and friends miss you here in Chicago. Whatever happens in the end, we know you did what you had to do for yourself and we’re all proud of you.


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