I started writing this blog in October of 2006. Week in, week out, regular as clockwork. Two hundred and forty-four weeks, and I have never accepted a guest post – until today.
I think you’ll like the writer (of course, I absolutely love the writer). Please meet Grace Woodward, a 15 year old high school freshman who has something to say.
Being yourself is one of the hardest things to do.
Especially as a teenager.
Everyone is changing and growing up and there’s an unspoken idea that you suddenly have to mature and deal with a lot of responsibilities. This idea comes from everywhere. My parents expect more of me, school does too, and saying something stupid in front of my friends is a horrifying concept.
But at the same time I’m trying to discover myself and live the way that I want to. Whenever I find myself in a spot where I feel like I’m doing things that don’t reflect the person that I want to be, I remember my friend Will.
I met Will Prince in sixth grade. We had some classes together and I remember him as a smart, kind guy. Will was an avid Red Sox fan, and was usually wearing something that showed his love for the game. In seventh grade we also had classes together and would have conversations about baseball regularly.
One thing that really sticks in my mind is when I walked out of math, after talking to Will, and thinking about how he was exactly who he wanted to be. He seemed happy all the time and had a strong passion for life. Will was only in seventh grade for a few months before he was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. Although Will and I weren’t the best of friends, I was devastated. He was such a sweet guy and always had a smile on his face. I talked to our mutual friends and helped to organize a fundraiser to raise money for lymphoma research. I even wrote to the Red Sox.
Looking back I wonder why I felt so connected to this boy that I knew for such a short time. And I realized that it was because Will was confident in himself. He did what he did because that’s what made him happy. He lived life the way that he wanted to. I was constantly asking around to see how he was doing. His progress was amazing, and he seemed as though he would pull through. He was let out of the hospital to go see all of his favorite monuments and sights in D.C. Sadly, that was the last weekend of his young life. It made me smile however, to know that Will spent his last hours seeing his favorite places with those that he loved.
As the tears rolled down my face and the words of “Hey Jude” filled the church at his funeral, I remembered what a truly honest, kind, and happy person Will was. And as the second anniversary of his death, April 19th, rolls around this week I’ll remember all the baseball talk we shared and how fun and insightful Will was. I’ll also remember how Will lived every day to the fullest and that in his twelve years he left a lasting impact on all those around him.
Will Prince will never be forgotten.
And thinking of him helps me to realize that my life is mine. And that I should live in a way that makes me happy.
And the secret to happiness? Doing what gets you fired up.
Leaving a mark on those around you. Doing what makes you wake up in the morning with a smile, because you never know what could happen tomorrow.
So live YOUR life.
And try to smile while doing it.
Like Will did.