Amanda Jackson, Moravian Academy English Teacher and Advisor

Dear Arnav,

Whenever something happens that adults can’t quite explain,

When we don’t really know how to respond,

We say things like,

“No one prepared me for this,” or

“Why didn’t anyone warn me it would be this way,” or

“They didn’t give me a handbook for that.”

But for this---well, for this, there are

Volumes

Upon

Volumes

Written about every kind of grief.

How to cope, how to memorialize, how to heal.

But nothing in that library of books, poems, or songs

Eulogies, elegies, or essays

Quite captures your particular smile,

Or your fierce determination,

Or your effortless grace.

How could anyone who didn’t know you ever understand the uniqueness of you-

Your beautiful soul, your quiet kindness, your relentless positivity.

How could anyone ever articulate the specific absence of you,

The space left in our homes, in our classrooms, in our hearts.

And so, this is my promise to you:

In the days and weeks and months and years ahead,

We will fill the space that remains with goodness and warmth-

With stories,

With rose petals,

With light.

And in the small moments that conjure you up unexpectedly in our minds--

A glimmer of forgotten gold glitter on the sidewalk, catching the sunlight just so,

An Eagles victory, a 76ers win,

A sole cyclist on a country road--

We will think of you, and we will smile

Knowing that you left the world a better place than it was

Simply because you were here.

Arnav’s Memoir excerpt read by Mrs. Jackson:

Last year I spent most of my time in a hospital bed, and whenever I was released to come home for a week, it felt really good--like winning the lottery. The pure joy of just sleeping in my own bed, and not listening to the constant beeps of the machines every 30 minutes, was so great and I don't know where I would be without the little pieces of motivation like that. These little pieces kept me going through the chemotherapies, raising my spirits, and preparing me for the next. Like this, another thing that this journey has taught me is to look at the positive side of things. There will always be a negative, or something that will try and drag you down, but you have to be persistent, positive, and look at the bright side. It’s a lot harder than it sounds, and I had a lot of help from my friends and family. There were also many small children that were getting treated at the same time as me. It was heartbreaking to see them but it gave me a positive perspective to see their smiles as they ran around the room playing with each other. They have taught me to always look for hope, because there is always hope and that you should always strive to find it, even if it seems impossible. Along with those I have also learned to be thankful for all of the opportunities that I am given, and to capitalize on them. This process, if anything, has shown me that life is short and precious, and it wasn't until I was hit with that burst of reality that I had finally realized its scarcity, and started to try to enjoy every second of it. I have learned a lot from this experience, and I hope that it can help change the mindsets of other people like it has changed mine and I hope that I can make them more positive and grateful for what they have and the opportunities that they are given.

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