When trouble strikes, living five hours from home can be especially stressful. If the trouble is with you, you must seek help and guidance from unfamiliar sources. If the trouble is at home, you feel entirely helpless; after all, what can a person do from so far away? When trouble strikes, it can really test you as an individual. You and those around you will discover things about you that may not have been known before. Priorities change, attitudes and beliefs can shift, and your brain scrambles to find any solution to whatever problem has occurred. You hear advice from people both at home and with you, most of which conflicts with what you know is the right thing to do. You start to plan your every move around the "what-ifs". For a moment you feel trapped, surrounded by the unknown. But you rise above it. Mostly because you are a strong, capable, individual, but even if you don't feel that way - what choice do you really have? You can let the what-ifs and the unknowns consume you, or you can choose to fight through them. You feel helpless, like you should do something. You feel guilty about the emotions you experience, regardless of what they are -- after all, it isn't really you that this trouble affects -- but most often you feel confused and conflicted as you attempt to figure out what to do with yourself.
And now that today is upon us, the confusion and conflicted feelings are gone; they no longer apply. The helplessness and the guilt linger on, as they likely will for weeks to come. Now, even worse, you feel selfish. Selfish for writing, selfish for studying, selfish for laughing; everything I do seems insignificant and wrong compared to the things those who are close to me deal with on a regular basis, and particularly in the past weeks. On top of that, there is anger. Directed primarily at those who blow the tiniest things completely out of proportion, it festers, as you try to rationalize their worries by rationalizing the differences in the experiences that everyone faces in their youth and adulthood. So perhaps the confusion and conflict haven't disappeared after all.
I know my best friend will be strong through this. In fact, I know she may even be too strong. Even in the face of death, the living must continue living.