For the Graduates of Grief

On March 13th, I unknowingly walked out of my high school for the last time.

This experience isn’t unique to me, in fact, around 140 other THS students can say the exact same thing. For over eleven years, my classmates and I were told that our senior year would be “the best year of our lives.” I’m not upset that statement isn’t true, but there’s a deep ache in my chest that hasn’t gone away since on-campus schooling was first postponed.

It’s a form of discomfort so intense I feel justified identifying it as pain. When my high school shut down for the rest of the year, the last few strings inside of me broke. For weeks, I had been sitting at home, desperately working to focus on assignment after assignment, motivated only by the thought that someday I would be able to attend class in-person again.

When I was forced to face the truth, I simply didn’t know how to deal with it... I still don’t. My classmates and I spent 11.75 years learning about history, math, science, etc. but not a single minute of our education prepared us to handle a disaster like this.

I always thought I would have the opportunity to say goodbye to all of my classmates, teachers, and friends, and while I will still find my way to some of them, there are hundreds of people I will not see again, and I have to cope with that. I missed my senior year, along with the rest of the class of 2020, or more appropriately, the class of COVID-19. And none of us can know what the future will look like, but the class of 2020, along with most of the world, will need to pull through the grief in our way.

As we all cope with the things we’ve missed in these last few months, I want my class to know that I miss them, that I love them, and that I know they will do great things. I want my teachers to know that I appreciate their efforts, and everyone else to know I appreciate their support. I want the world to know that it’s okay to be hurting right now; everyone grieves differently, but chances are, we are all going to need some time to be okay again.

Kyran Cates



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