I found out during work on Tuesday. I remember glancing at my phone quickly before teaching my 3 o'clock class and seeing numerous missed calls, and text messages from various people saying to call once I read the text. The urgency scared me, and I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to keep composure while teaching if I returned phone calls right then. It was a very good thing that I waited until my class ended at 5. The most recent text was from my dad and, unfortunately for him, he was the one who had to break the news to me. "Trevor Hollingsworth was killed in a car accident last night."
I understood the words, but I didn't comprehend them. People aren't supposed to die when they are 23. Are they sure he didn't make it? Is he in a coma? Maybe they jumped to conclusions? Surely he was still alive. He had to be alive. To make matters worse, the date was April 1st. And though I secretly thought, 'maybe this is an April Fools joke?' I knew that death isn't something worth joking about.
The next person I called back was Trevor's sister. She told me the funeral would be in Spokane, Washington that Saturday. She told me she understood if I wouldn't be able to attend. I ended the call and felt numb. Several tears had escaped my eyes, but it wasn't until I excused myself to the restroom that I started to sob. Til that point in my life, I'd only known of two people to have passed away -my great grandmother, and a former seminary teacher. I had no idea that the third person would be Trevor - who, if we took out my family, is one of the top 3 people I've been closest to in my entire life.
I was still scheduled to be at work for two more hours, but I couldn't keep my emotions under control. I told my manager the situation and left work early. Knowing myself, being alone would be the worst possible thing for me to do. As I got home, I called my cousin Sara and told her I was hurting and needed some company. I didn't want to sit and 'talk about it'. Talking about my feelings to people isn't something that has ever been easy for me to do. Mostly what I needed was emotional support, and a distraction. We went to Costa Vida and I was so grateful for her company. After that, I spent time with my friends Jennie and Jenna - who I've been friends with for a long time and grew up with. They knew Trevor as well, and I'm sure they could only imagine how tough the situation was for me.
Most people, I think, wouldn't have gone into work the next day. But if I don't keep busy, I fall into a depression and have a hard time getting out of it. I didn't really have the heart to teach on Wednesday or Thursday, but I recognized that I couldn't put everything in my life on pause. I'm sure I didn't appear to be myself because honestly I didn't really feel like myself. Someone very important to my life was suddenly gone and I was slowly trying to process that fact.
I flew out to Washington so I could attend the funeral on Saturday. I was fortunate enough to have my parents there with me. The moment we pulled into the church parking lot and I saw the hearse, I felt like someone had thrown a bag of heavy bricks at my chest. 'This is real,' I remember thinking. As my mom and I walked into the church, we were handed a program. There were a few tables set up that were filled with all things Trevor - his trumpet, sheet music, some harmonicas, a kazoo, a ukulele, a pile of hacky sacks, some beanie hats - one of which had alpacas on it (He served a mission in Peru and there were lots of alpacas there), his scripture set, a N64 controller, a high school sweatshirt, a picture of him running his marathon a month or so ago... Mom and I both started to cry. I can't remember when I stopped crying.
When I saw the casket, I kept thinking about how I knew that Trevor's physical body was in there, but that his spirit is still alive and with us. I missed him like crazy, especially as his sister reminded us of Trevor's wonderful qualities, but I really do believe there's life after this. And I know that Trevor is in good hands and is so happy! I think it's okay to be sad. But rather than focus on how sad we are that Trevor is gone, I think it's important to remember all of the good Trevor has brought to our lives. His cousin gave the eulogy and his friend Ethan read through a few of Trevor's journal entries at the service, and it just made me so grateful that I had the privilege of having Trevor be such a huge part of my life for as long as I did.
So now I want to take a minute and tell you more about this awesome guy. But we have to start by going waaay back to 2005.
I love the body language being expressed in this picture, because this is how our friendship started out. It was kind of awkward! We were freshmen in high school and I'd never really been friends with a guy before. At least, not to the level where I'd feel comfortable hanging out with a guy one on one. I thought he was dorky and goofy, but I couldn't judge - I was a dork too!
As our freshman year came to a close, and as Trevor and I developed a deeper friendship, we found out the unfortunate news that Trevor and his family would be moving to Washington. Ironically enough, my family was moving away from California that summer as well! So although it was too bad we weren't going to be living in the same state as each other, at least we both were beginning new adventures in new states at the same time. We would talk even more than we did the year before. As fun as it would be to exaggerate the fact we talked all night long, I promise that I am 100% serious when I say that there were nights that the only reason I'd hang up was because the sun was up and I needed to get ready for church. My dad was always telling me to hang up and go to bed...
Even though we didn't live close by each other anymore, we stayed in touch and planned to go to EFY the same week as each other the summer after sophomore year. It was fun being able to see him and spend some time with him.
As time progressed, so did our relationship. Our conversations were more than just fun stories, they were deep and meaningful. We shared secrets. Dreams. Hopes. Plans. Thoughts. Worries. Fears. We talked about everything. He was so great at giving me advice. I remember he'd always speak in the form of simple analogies - which always helped me to understand things so much better. I'm not a very eloquent speaker, nor am I very good at trying to express my feelings. But somehow he always knew what I was trying to convey. He was the most patient person I'd ever known. He was so thoughtful with his responses. He was so gentle and kind when he'd speak to me. He was extremely humble. He was loyal. He was forgiving. There were so many times that I was a pain in the butt - I'd whine or complain or cry or mope, and he'd always know just what to say to cheer me up. And all of those times when I'd close up and think it would just be easiest to push everyone away and shut everyone out, Trevor would be there to reassure me that there is nothing I could ever do to make him love me any less than he does. I could call him at 3 in the morning and he'd be willing to listen. I'd like to think that I was as great a friend to him as he was to me, but I really don't think that's possible...I think Trevor is the best friend somebody could hope for.
I remember one day we were talking on the phone and discussing the topic of, "I know we are best friends. But I think we're probably more than that." We decided we wanted to put a label on 'us'. The summer after junior year was so much fun. I moved back to California and Trevor and I got to spend more time together! I visited him in Washington for a week, and he visited me in California for a week. It was always a little bit weird the first day (we knew each other's voices so well...but interacting in person takes some adjustment), but we warmed up to each other quickly. It was so much fun being in a relationship with someone who knew me better than I knew myself. He'd asked my opinion on things, but already know my answer. He knew what activities I'd love and which ones I'd feel skeptical about. My favorite part about him was that he was so selfless. I don't know what I did to deserve his affection (I don't think I deserved it at all, actually), but that boy was always trying his hardest to do whatever he could to make me happy. My mom would remind me, later, that Trevor truly did adore me and put me on a pedestal. He treated me like a princess.
I loved that I felt comfortable being myself around him. I will be the first to admit I'm quirky and weird, but it was fun having someone who didn't make me feel embarrassed about it. Another thing that I treasured so much was Trevor honestly tried to be his best, and to help me be my best. I'd tell him my struggles and challenges and feel absolutely no judgement. And if I ever confessed something like, "I feel like I'm not very good at making scripture reading a priority. I should work on it", his response would be, "Okay, one sec. I'll grab my scriptures. Where should we read?" Trevor has so many wonderful characteristics I admire and aspire to develop. He would always go out of his way for others.
And if there is any one person who I can deem as the epitome of a sincere and true friend, it's Trevor. As our senior year began (mind you, we were living in different states again), he finally got text messaging for his phone. Each morning I'd wake up to some sweet message like, "Good morning, beautiful! I hope you have the best day ever because you deserve it. I love you!" Or sometimes he'd write me a sweet little poem. He was always thinking about me and was so invested in our relationship. And even on the days when I wasn't very responsive, he'd remind me that he was there for me.
As senior year went on, our relationship changed a bit. I kind of panicked at the thought of locking myself into a future with someone having not dated anybody else. And so Trevor and I went back to being just friends. Eventually I started dating somebody else. But even though I'm sure it killed him emotionally, he was still willing to be there for me if ever I needed him ... no matter what the problem was.
When we finished high school, I went to BYU and he went to BYU-I. Our friendship wasn't nearly as strong or close as it had been before, but we still enjoyed talking every once in awhile. Like I said, we knew each other so well on such a deep level. Being friends was so natural and easy, it didn't matter how long it had been since our last conversation.
Trevor was called to serve an LDS mission in Peru. He paid me a surprise visit in Provo just before he was getting ready to leave though! We had a lot of fun together. I was so excited to see him. Our friendship picked up where we left off, and we had a blast together. I didn't necessarily tell him I'd "wait" for him, but I was very diligent with writing him throughout his mission. And as the end of his two year mission was nearing, we very seriously talked about a future together and plans for once he got back. To make a long story short, the Lord had other plans for me and Trevor in that regard, but our friendship is still something I hold dear to my heart.
Last summer (which was a year after he returned from his mission), he came out to visit me in Utah again. In all honesty, it had been awhile since we'd really talked - a lot had changed in our individual lives in that year, but it was still really good to see him and spend some time with him. I have no doubt in my mind that he helped shape me into the person I am today. I feel blessed and lucky to have Trevor in my life.
My heart has felt all different types of love for Trevor over the last nine years. He's the best friend I could have asked for and I'm so grateful that God allowed mine and Trevor's paths to cross our freshman year of high school. He has been one of the most important and influential people in my life and I am always going to have a place for that guy in my heart. He's touched my life for the better and I will never forget him.
I love you, friend.
Here are songs I've written about Trevor over the last few years, in case you're interested :)