Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 11:51:53 PM
I grasped the eeriness of the morning when I woke to the sound of my father yelling my name. I rushed out of bed, grabbed my phone, and was about to dial my best friend’s number to inform her that I was to be late, when I received an incoming call: her mother. It was a strange phone call. Her voice was torn between sobs. My best friend, Delaney, had attempted suicide and was barely alive.
In the novel by Nina LaCour, Hold Still, I related most with the character Caitlin. Reading about Caitlin’s struggle with her best friend’s suicide was like watching myself for the first time with the struggle of Delaney's attempted suicide. We both participated in the grief, guilt, sorrow, and finally, acceptance of the disaster. I believe the largest flaw that Caitlin and I share is the guilt. As I read the novel, I became more aware that the guilt was present in my life. The novel made me feel as if I was no longer alone with the emotions I couldn’t understand. I had a friend. I depended on Caitlin, and the novel, to get me through the pain.
While I read, Hold Still, I realized something about myself that I hadn’t since the tragedy: How much I am still hurting. Every page I turned in the novel, was another step to my recovery and acceptance to Delaney’s attempted suicide. To go through these horrible emotions again was painful, but helped me understand the past events. Although Caitlin is fictional, I discovered a reality: there are other girls and boys in the world who are going through the same suffering that I went through. I want to help them. The novel has made it apparent to me that so many people are secretly suffering. Realizing this, truly grasping this fact, creates a whole new world of interaction with others. Hold Still was not only a beautifully crafted novel, but it has helped me to become more empathetic with my friends, family, and community. The situation Caitlin and I went through was an awful one, but my life has opened up so wide because of it.
Some mornings, my mind is drawn back to that Monday morning phone call that changed my life. But then, I start to apprehend the novel. I apprehend the struggle Caitlin went through. I apprehend the difficulty Ms. Delani had trying to accept it from a teacher’s perspective, and when she finally did, how relieved she felt. I apprehend the pain Ingrid’s parents faced, and how much stronger they are now. I apprehend the value and significance of the moments I have. And suddenly, that morning doesn’t seem so sad. It no longer seems like a door slamming shut, or a sudden halt in a car ride. It becomes a door wide open. It becomes the beginning of a new life where I can use my experience to reach others. I finally apprehend that sometimes, I just need to hold still.