Most people can’t imagine.
What the gun shots would sound like ringing down the hallway
The sound of the glass in the classroom door shattering.
All of the blood.
Most people can’t imagine.
Seeing the school name pop up and holding in your scream
Seeing the headline, “17 confirmed dead”.
The possibility of that being your baby.
Most people can’t imagine.
The feeling of your child sending that “I’m okay, still on lockdown.” text.
The feeling of finally seeing your child walk out and run to you.
The embrace you hold them in that makes you never want to let go again.
But what you really can’t imagine is the crushing realization
that you don't see your child coming out,
that you didn't get a text saying they were okay,
that your child is one of those 17.
The feeling of...
The light truly being gone from your life.
Words from the Author
I began writing this poem the February 14th, the day of the parkland school shooting. It took me a couple days to finish and I made edits until the very end. I wanted it to convey unthinkable emotions which is firstly, why it is called "Most People Can't Imagine" and second, is incredibly difficult to do. I tried to capture the emotion well but that was even hard for me to do because it wasn't me who went through it. I watch videos from inside the school, all of the blood, glass, and horror. I saw the parents standing outside, crying, hugging and hoping. If you are wondering why this ended up being in the parents perspective, I think because the weight of the thought of losing your everything when there is nothing you can do conveys the emotion I was trying to find the best. As for the revisions, as I said, I was making changes until the very end and I am still not sure this is how I want it to stay. Originally there was only three stanzas but I ended up breaking them into two and adding to each, in attempt to convey the differently feelings of first hearing about it versus seeing them after waiting what felt like a lifetime. Maybe I still haven't captured the emotions I was hoping to, I would imagine it isn't an easy feeling to put into words, but I tried my best.
The total amount of pages I read this marking period was 709. My pages per week average was 59. This is not as little as I felt it was first marking period but still not my best at the same time. I was just very focused on all of the projects we were doing with our three books that I didn't read much else. I read the The Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides, I am unsure if we read a full second poetry book.The one I kind of got into, my favorite, was probably The Virgin Suicides if I had to chose just because it was very different from the other two books I was reading for this project. I feel like I always answer this question "school" but again, I did the most reading in school. I think the only time I carve out reading time is if I really the book and I really haven't felt that recently. I read a little bit of The Virgin Suicides outside of school but thats it. As I said in the last reading analysis, I think we were very focused on writing this tri but I did read more than the last marking period. As for growth though, as a reader I don't think I have grown enough that I can say that. I can usually read quite a long time at once if I really like the book, but as I said, I haven't really had that so I don't think my reading stamina has improved at all this marking period. I hope to read a lot more both in and out of school than I read this marking period. Also I would like to find a book I really like that makes me want to read more. I did read my goal amount of books for the Tri, and maybe 10 plus for the year? I learned this marking period how much we can tie our reading into presentations, essays, and much more. How in depth thinking can give you a lot to write about with a book. These books all had a similar heavy topic so they weren't necessarily my favorite reads but they did get me thinking a lot.
Capturing Coping by Haevyn Seidel
My main topic was mental illness, and the YA book I chose was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. The question I was attempting to investigate further was how does each person cope with their mental illness differently? Throughout the book I also found contrasts to my own question in finding similarities in coping methods.
The main characters of the book Violet and Finch both struggle heavily with mental illness. Violet struggles with heavy anxiety and moderate depression because of her sister dying in a car accident in which she was next to her in the car. Her anxiety hinders her from getting into a car at all for a long time following that accident. Finch struggles with severe depression with constant suicidal thoughts and possibly bipolar disorder, although it is never clearly stated where this comes from. I think that Niven also wanted us to look at how two people with mental illness can be in relationship and the ways in which that can both help and hurt. The book clearly illustrates how Violet and Finch could relate to each other in order to not feel alone and even benefit each other in a couple other ways. Violet finally gets into a car, but only with Finch. Finch realizes that he doesnt think about suicide when he’s with Violet and that he may actually truly feel happiness with her. At first, Violet uses ignoring everything she did with her sister to cope. Looking back on the book, Finch doesn't really have a way to cope, which is why I think it ended up eating him alive until he killed himself. If anything Finch hides his true feelings from others to cope (which still is not much of a coping method at all), the difference we start to see is that when they are together, they use each other to cope.
I did not love this book due to the fact that it just seems as though the author did everything she could to make this a “typical relatable teen book” and that sort of annoys me. Finch is the perfect “he’s just a guy who truly doesn't care what people think” character that every middle school teen would love. I think that the content of the book, (past his character) is actually quite interesting. The way it’s structured, their point of views, how the characters perfectly complement each other in many ways, and the over all points I believe Niven was trying to convey, I actually really liked.
The reason I chose this topic/big question is because in 7th and 8th grade I had moderate depression that i was struggling with. I just had a terrible time at school, the teachers were mean to every student and didn't care, I had the most toxic of “friends”, my “friends” treated me like garbage, I was bullied in volleyball for not being pretty, skinny, or white, enough and in turn all of that made me feel terrible about myself. Thank god, I have fortunately come out of that place and haven't felt that way since middle school. I finally learned to drop friends that don’t treat me well, and only to be around people who make me happy. I quit volleyball after deciding it wasnt worth all of the tears, and I finally let my family in on the fact that I was struggling and realized how lucky I am to have a Mom, Dad, and older Brother that love me and care about me so much. Having my family and (actual) friends there really got me out of that place. I still have a bit of anxiety but I have learned to control and handle it pretty well, which I believe is something to be a little proud of.
After getting through this and looking back on it, I began to think about kids like Finch who didn't have friends or family to help him and eventually felt as though there was no other way away from the pain other than to end it for good. It breaks my heart thinking about all of the kids who weren't able to keep going, and who didn't have the support system they needed. I know I have several friends still struggling heavily with depression and I try to make sure they know everyday that I love them and would do anything for them if they needed me. I think that my friends were also a huge reason for me choosing this topic so I wanted to mention them also. Most of my friends use humor as a coping method which has become pretty standard in today's society, I find that quite interesting, which is the final reason I wanted to choose this topic. Today, humor is what captures coping in general but overall this book helps show how each person uses (or does not use)coping individually.
Haevyn Seidel is currently a senior at Mount Pleasant High School located in Michigan. She plans on attending Grand Valley State University next fall to study and pursue a career in engineering.