The Homecoming King

This past week I’ve been feeling nostalgic. Life was kicking my butt, and I wanted to go back to the States, go back to being young, go back to High School. I contacted some of my high school friends, asking if I could see them next month when I would go for a visit. This morning I woke up, thinking of one friend in particular I wanted to see.

As I reached to my phone to contact said friend, I saw multiple Facebook notifications. Opening them up, I couldn’t even start to comprehend what I was seeing. The one friend I wanted to contact and talk to had been killed last night in a freak accident.

Dylan Slager.

How could he possibly have gone? Why him of all people?

Dylan was my only friend from high school that kept up with me after I moved away. He would try to visit me whenever I would go back to the US, and he would send me messages asking how I was and how everything in Honduras was. I know it seems like simple stuff, but to me this meant the world. I went through a world of change, of cultures and languages and friends. I would become attached to people and then they’d leave because they needed/wanted to move back to the US. Among few others Dylan stood as consistency to me in my ever-changing life.

I feel as if I can’t even begin to start writing about him, I don’t think I could ever do him justice. But I just want anyone and everyone to know him, and to grieve with his family and friends, because he was truly a man like none other. For me he brought me friendship all through high school as well as after – he always made me feel relevant, cared for, and loved. All throughout high school I was extremely insecure, I never thought anyone actually cared or wanted to be around me. I was everyone’s back up friend, I never had a stable best friend that lasted more than a year. On the outside I was popular, but on the inside I was someone who never really seemed to fit in anywhere.

After I moved to Honduras it worsened. I didn’t really have a chance to make friends because everyone came for a few months and left. There were a lot of times I didn’t want to live or be anywhere, I just wanted to disappear because of how lonely I felt. I was no longer cared for by my friends in the US, and I couldn’t attach to anyone here. But that’s where Dylan helped me. Because he still kept up with me, even in just tiny things, I was able to feel not so lonely. I was able to persevere. I was able to face the trauma of becoming a teenage mom and losing my child because of his small acts of kindness. Because him and a few others, I was able to not feel so lonely and feel as if my life did matter.

I wasn’t the only one who was dramatically touched by Dylan’s life. In high school countless others were touched by his small acts of kindness. Right now there are so many classmates reaching out to his family because of his impact on us. He was the homecoming king, but not because he was the most handsome or the best jock, but because he made everyone laugh and made everyone feel important. He was on student council, and dedicated himself to being one of our school’s strongest leaders, promoting school spirit and making sure every single person felt included.

He did this all while struggling with so much on his own. During high school he struggled while watching his father slowly die from cancer. He never let that bring him down. He always looked on the positive side, and he always made everyone laugh. You could tell that he found joy in making others smile. Dylan Slager was the guy that everyone wanted to be friends with. I’m proud to say I was ever his friend.

I can’t imagine why the Lord let him leave the earth so soon, with as big of impact he could make on people. I can’t imagine the pain that his family and close friends are going through, if his death makes me, a distant friend, so upset. I just wanted to write this because that’s all I can do. I ask for prayers for his family and friends, and I ask that all of you who knew him will never forget him. I pray we can all take what he gave us and show it to everyone we meet, that we can all bring smiles to strangers and care deeply enough to make an impact on everyone we meet.

I love you Dylan, thank you so much for making me feel loved all those years. You will never be forgotten.