Dealing with loss

By Saj Sri-Kumar

Up until nine months ago, I didn’t understand what people meant when they referred to the five stages of grief.

Sure, I had heard about the journey from denial to acceptance, but having never really experienced the feeling myself, I had no idea what it was really like.

Last December, Brendan Kutler ’10 died in his sleep while on vacation with his family in Hawaii. I’ve known him for longer than I can remember; our families met when our older sisters were in the same grade in elementary school.

I’ll never forget the time when I heard the news. At first, the feeling of shock was overwhelming. My mom told me over the phone and I couldn’t believe the words she was saying.

I had seen him just a few weeks earlier, and I couldn’t fathom the fact that I would never see him again. It took a while to register in my head what had happened.

It was a tough few weeks after that. I spent some time considering what had happened but found little solace.

There was no one to blame, no outlet for what I was feeling. I couldn’t comprehend why this had happened, or what, if anything, I should learn from his passing.

Tragedy struck again last week when Ishan Bose-Pyne ’12 died of burns sustained in a freak accident a week earlier. It didn’t get any easier the second time.

Despite only knowing him for a year, I got to know him well when we were both on the Science Bowl team, and we became good friends.

Although I had been through the same thing once before, I was just as unprepared for the feelings as the first time.

Once again, there was no one to blame. I wanted to be able to take my anger out on someone, as I had seen all of the friends of victims do on “Law & Order.”

Both times, it was hard to avoid taking my anger out on others. I heard some complaining about how other people around school didn’t look sad enough.

Others felt that they were too upset for how little they had known Brendan or Ishan and that they should have spent more time consoling those who knew them best.

However, both times I came away with the realization that everyone grieves in their own way.

Some will go about their day crying and others will be able to keep their minds off the matter so well that they appear as if nothing was wrong.

It’s been hard to move on. I’m still waiting for that feeling of closure that always seems to accompany the end of every tragedy on television.

There’s always an ending, even if it’s bittersweet or sad, that serves to close off a movie. I’m still waiting for that closure.