I found out today that an old friend passed away yesterday. Actually, Shot to death to be more specific. And an old boyfriend to be exact. I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia second semester Junior year of college. I met a local boy pretty much the first week I was there. An Australian boy. We dated for the 7+ months I was there. He showed me and my study abroad group the in’s and out’s of Sydney. Studying abroad was the best experience of my life. I had the most fun, made some amazing friends, it was just the best. But that’s another post, another time. The point today is, the Australian was a part of all the happiness, fond memories and amazing adventures there, and that causes me the most sadness.
Obviously, I am no longer with the Australian, as our geographic differences were pretty enormous, and it has been a while since we had spoken, but this is the first person I had known like that who has passed away. I am having a rough time dealing with that. I don’t really know how to deal with that. He was special to me during a very exciting chapter in my life, and though we had lost touch over the years, it’s hard to grieve. Especially when that person lived literally on the other side of the world. His current girlfriend sent me a facebook friend request message this morning. I knew her name and her profile picture because she and the Australian were in a relationship on facebook that I could see since he and I were friends on there. I thought it was odd that she wanted to be my friend, but that friend request came with the sad news of the Australian’s passing. She said there was “a misunderstanding and he was shot by the police.” This all just seemed so surreal to me. I was riding the metro when I got the news, and it just made my heart sink. Do I get off the metro?! Do I burst out in tears on my commute? What do I do? I kept reading her note…
His girlfriend wrote, “I’m in the process of cleaning out our apartment (they lived together in Sydney) and I came across a box in our storage closet of letters and mementos from your guys relationship. I don’t feel right about throwing the stuff out without asking you first.” What a way to start my Wednesday morning. First off, I am so in shock of his death. What she told me was so vague, and I was trying to do all I could to get some more information out of the internet, but everything I found just didn’t fit. Nothing seemed right about the story I had found. Maybe they were the wrong pieces of the puzzle, or maybe he was just not the person I had known a few years ago. Can people really change all that much in such a short time?
I was also just blown away by his girlfriends maturity and responsibility. I can’t believe she would go through the trouble to contact me like that. I can’t even imagine what she is going through right now. She studied abroad in Sydney and met him there too (sound familiar?), she went to college in California, but is from Minnesota, so she is going through this all very far away from home. My heart goes out to her. I can’t imagine how hard it must be losing the one you love like that. I hope I never have to experience that, and I pray for strength for those that do.
I just can’t believe the free-spirited, laid back, no worries mate Australian is no longer on this earth. I always thought I would travel back to Australia one day and look him up to say g’day! Maybe meet for a beer or something. He was a big part of my life at the time, which was a period of many fantastic memories for me. He was the local boy and proved to be a fabulous tour guide for our group. Having him around, our group of friends felt ‘safe’ because he was pretty much the only one who knew where were were half the time! Down Under I made amazing friends, had countless once in a lifetime experiences and Australia always holds a special place in my heart. I am sad that Australia no longer has the Australian we all knew and loved, living there anymore. I hope he watches down on us all from heaven. His life was definitely cut short. I pray for strength for his family and friends during this difficult time.