Today, amidst my studying and grocery shopping, I couldn't get the death of a childhood friend out of my head. This morning around 1am, as I was browsing on facebook due to a lack of an ability to go to sleep at a normal hour, I read that he had passed away; he was 23 years old. At first I was in shock; I didn't know if it was a joke, or wrong information, but after more research, and a confirmation from my step sister, I knew it was the truth.
I have been in school with Dustin Johnson since we were in elementary school, and we had some great times together in Odyssey of the Mind (an academic competition for elementary and middle school), and just being apart of a great group of kids that grew up in our little town of Palm Springs. Since my step brother David's tragic passing I have looked at death a bit differently, but you never get used to hearing about the deaths of people you know, especially ones who you grew up with and are your age. At 23 years of age you have your whole life ahead of you, and to be taken away so young is a tragedy beyond belief.
Knowing what death does to a family I can only offer my prayers and wishes to his poor family as they endure a long, tough road ahead. No parent should have to bury a child, and no sibling should have to lose a brother or sister (as I know all too well), and to see what happened in my family happen to someone else saddens me beyond belief. Dustin was a wonderful man, loved by many, and though we lost touch and only just recently briefly reconnected, I will always remember him as being kind, generous, creative, fun loving, and an all around wonderful person. He will be missed by everyone who knew him, even if they did not know him well.
It's funny how much you think about your own life when someone else's is taken away. It is so scary to think that a tragedy of this magnitude could happen to anyone at any time. Now more than ever, especially since I am so far away from everyone I love and care about the most, I must be sure to always let the people I love know that I am thinking about them with all my heart, and constantly remind those in my life how much they mean to me, and how special they are, because you really just never know when you will be saying it to them for the last time.
Aside from that news, I have been studying all night for a huge test tomorrow, and have been finishing up with some extra work so I can be all finished with any work befor Tisha Ba'av, the holiday that starts tomorrow night and goes until Tuesday night (which means no class YAY, but that also means there is a fast BOO), and then I can look forward to a tour of Tel Aviv on Wednesday, going to the Shuk and Street Fair in Jaffa on Thursday, and then the weekend! One thing I have noticed about my time here in Israel, is that the days seem to go by like seconds. It really is amazing how time is flying, and I'm not even doing that much yet!
Stay tuned for an update on Tisha Ba'av (for those of you who don't know what that is there will be an explanation so get ready for a Jewish lesson :-p), and the goings on of the rest of week 2 in Israel!