After this past week, I honestly could not believe we had lost another member of our Northwest family. The longer I am here on this campus, the more you all feel like a family to me. While I may remain anonymous with this story, I care about every single one of you.

Julieann was a friend of mine, and we had been in a number of organizations together. Her death signifies at least seven students have passed away in the last three years, and those seven family members have been taken from our Northwest family.

While it is a part of life to experience grief and lose people we care about, it never seems to get any easier over time. It is times likes these we need to come together as a family and remember the lives of people we have lost this academic year alone.

It is up to us to live for them, and carry their memory wherever we go and in whatever we do. We should be grateful that we woke up this morning, got to go to our classes and talk to the people we love.

While it may feel like an unbearable amount of pain to grieve for those that we lost, it will get better over time, even if the pain will never completely go away.

I have had to bury three friends in the course of one semester, and there is not a single day that I don’t think about them when I am going about my everyday business. It also makes me think about what life would be like if they were still alive today.

If you need someone to talk to, reach out to your family, friends and, if you feel comfortable, a certified grief counselor.

As my Sunday school teacher told me when I was little, things happen for a reason, whether we want them to happen or not.

How we respond to grief helps us develop as human beings and help us experience the tragedies paired with life.

While the immediate pain will fade, the other phases of grief will soon arrive and the subsequent periods of anger and depression will be with us for probably the rest of this academic term.

“It would be impossible to estimate how much time we invest in trying to fix, change and deny our emotions -- especially the ones that shake us at our core, like hurt, jealousy, loneliness, shame, rage and grief,” Debbie Ford said.

Again, if you need someone to talk to, reach out and find someone to talk to. We are all one big Bearcat family. We will get through this.

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