Friday, June 15, 2012

RIP Victor Silva

On May 17,1985 Bobby Ewing died. Sitting 6 inches from my grandparents' TV, I broke down in hysterical tears and screamed "Why did Bobby have to die?" It's one of those memories that causes half embarrassment, half laughter, because What A Drama Queen. The problem was that I wasn't so upset about Bobby Ewing. In normal times, I would have been "upset," but not hysterical, crying UPSET. I'd like to think my grandparents understood. It was only days before this when an athletic superstar of my middle school had been severely injured on his way home from school.

The story was that he'd gone back to pick up a friend's earring from the street. A passing truck's side mirror clipped him directly in the head. It sounds so small, doesn't it? But it wasn't. Victor was changed from this point forward. He wasn't on the JV basketball team at North High...he wasn't on any team. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury that would divert his obvious path to high school athletic stardom to something else. After what I can only guess was a titanic effort, he did come back to us in high school. Thank God he was saved, even if he was changed.

I went to see him in the hospital. He was still not communicating, slow but gesturing. It was shocking. Here was this boy that I'd had a hopeless crush on turned to something my 13 year old mind could not comprehend. We were such babies, and facing this reality far beyond our ability to understand. I remember people hating his "before" girlfriend for not staying with him...this girl who was thirteen years old, her high school years and her WHOLE LIFE ahead of her. Can you imagine the pressure? My baby crush was nothing compared to that.

Victor has died. The reports say from a seizure, no doubt caused by his long term brain injury. By all accounts his funeral was standing room only. Victor didn't give up. He made his impact in life after the brain injury. I know that I once held him up as this tragic figure, but being not thirteen years old anymore, I now understand how hard he must have fought to be speaking, walking, and functional. People didn't attend that funeral just for the boy that was; they attended for the man that came after.

Crying over Bobby Ewing--and dramatically storming to my bedroom after my outburst--was obviously the only way I could deal with what had just happened. Victor was on the verge of death, there were dark possibilities on the horizon. Our teachers tried to make us understand that he might be different. It was too much to handle. It was a lot to understand at that age. Honestly, I still can't deal with the randomness and the extreme corner life can take when you double back to pick up an earring from the street.

PS. On an obviously grim note, this is not the only classmate I've mine to die recently. Another classmate, this time from my much lauded Isley Elementary, was murdered by her boyfriend a couple of weeks ago. I did not know her personally. I was just one of the many who hero worshipped her from afar as she was one of the "popular" ones. She was, in fact, one of the NICE popular ones. She had strawberry red hair and bright eyes. Her name matched her eyes.

I can't stop thinking about her. Not because of her horrifying end--I mostly just can't compute that--but because she's one of those people that seemed destined for a kind and joyful life. What "karma" brought her here? How does this make any sense? It doesn't. I look at my life and wonder why I've been spared. Not because I am bad (I AM SOOO BAD), but because seemingly good and upright people--with children, I might add--leave this earth too soon and in such an ugly way. I guess this is a Dear God letter, huh? So, what's the answer?


Post a Comment

<< Home