"Dear Trent"

Dear Trent,

14 year’s ago our lives changed forever. I danced with you at our high school ball afters, we laughed that I was actually allowed out for once without lying to my parents, I said it was so awesome to see you the happiest you’ve been in ages. I’ll never forget our chats on MSN, how you understood me and didn’t think I was weird and how you took the time to explain how the x games worked when all you wanted to do was watch. You use to make me laugh so much. I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I could’ve seen the signs. Known that it was a mask. Asked the right questions. Listened better. Our times as friends was cut so short. 

The day we found out I remember exactly where I was, who told me and then running downstairs and getting my mum to drive me to Elisa’s house so I could be with everyone. Except once I saw everyone and hugged everyone I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t feel and I couldn’t watch. I sat on my own while my mum waited in the car for me. That was a turning point for me. I distanced myself from everyone. I couldn’t attend your paddle out after your funeral. I didn’t stay in touch with your family. I wasn’t close to any of our friends anymore. I still carry around that guilt. I’m so sorry I didn’t turn up. The years after your passing weren’t the easiest for me. I lived with brain pain also.

I’ve thought about you often over the 14 years but lately you’ve been at the forefront of my mind. I’m not sure if it’s because it was your birthday a few days ago or because I’ve finally been able to process the emotions from the time we said goodbye to you.

When everything happened with me in 2013 my heart broke for you even more. The pain you would’ve been in and how alone you would’ve felt. When I survived I told myself that I needed to use my experiences to help ease the pain of other people going through the same thing. You’ve been the reason I’ve dedicated my life to working in the suicide prevention space. You were the catalyst in me starting Inner Ninja.

Thank you for being in my thoughts, for the beautiful memories, for making high school bearable and making me see my true calling. Love you legend and happy 30th.

Special thank you to Linda Martinz for allowing me to share this picture and words of her beautiful son.

Live, breathe, embrace;

Stef xo

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Tenille Westerhout