I was traumatized. I still am. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about what would’ve happened if I had told my mom to stop the car so I could help you, Sean. Not that I know how to administer medical care or anything. I just wish I could’ve been there for you. But my mind was too focused on the math test I had that day, and I was too worried about being late to school.
You’re a student, too. You probably had the same worries as me as you were biking to school.
Nothing. No ambulances, no cop cars. Not for a while. The remainder of my car ride to school was consumed by thoughts of you. The image of you lying on the street, broken and helpless, has not left my mind. A pool of blood was visible on the asphalt, even from inside my car. A woman was tending to you, a man waved cars away from the accident scene. Where were the paramedics? Why was there so much blood? Are you going to be okay? Why did this happen? Screw the math test. Screw the tardy. I immediately regretted not stopping to help you. Seconds turned into minutes. It wasn’t until I escaped the traffic and reached FVHS that the firetruck and ambulance finally drove out of the firehouse, sirens wailing, lights flashing. Those minutes felt like forever. The minutes I could’ve spent helping you until the EMTs arrived.
I was haunted all day. Through first period, through second period, until now. The news spread. Students prayed for your survival, whether they knew you or not. Everyone was united in love and care for a fellow student.
I was at a baseball game yesterday when I received a text message bearing news of your passing. I could not believe it, did not want to believe it. You’re only 15, your 16th birthday only a few days away. You’re still young, even younger than me. Why you? You had so much left to live for.
Tonight was your candlelight vigil. I never thought I’d ever have to attend one for someone my own age. From two streets away, I could see a stream of yellow lights. Headlights, I thought, as it was nearing sunset. As I got closer, the lights got brighter. Candles. Bright yellow flames. Dozens and dozens of candles lit up the night sky. Lights from three police cars illuminated the area. Bouquets of flowers, bunches of balloons, handmade posters, FVHS wrestling shirts, even the Tech Decks you loved to play with were left in your memory. A large crowd of people stood in the cold evening air, remembering you. From parents to teachers to students to strangers, we gathered to remember a member of the Fountain Valley community. To the students, you were an FVHS wrestler, a fellow Baron, one of us. You walked the same halls and attended the same classes. You have touched all of us, whether we personally knew you or not. We got to know you through the many stories people shared.
Your English teacher shared a piece of your writing. The following stood out to me:
“There are too many fakes in the world. We need real leaders who have values. Every life matters, yet some act as if some lives aren’t worth as much…We all need to be more aware and stop paying attention to less important things. There’s always someone who needs help.”
I wish I helped you, Sean. You’ll always be in my heart.
We lost a classmate, but Heaven gained an angel.
Rest In Paradise, Sean Dylan Severson.
March 25, 1998 – March 21, 2014