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Nothing Like The Sun: A Teenager Works To Make Sense Of The Loss Of A Friend

Kenzie Wilkinson
Basim Blunt
Kenzie Wilkinson

Death can be difficult to face when you’re young, and for teenagers, the death of a peer can be especially hard. Today on Dayton Youth Radio, we hear from one local student who’s still working to make sense of the loss of her friend.  

My name is Kenzie Wilkinson. I am 18 years old and currently a senior at Centerville High School. Growing up, my neighborhood was filled with fun events. The neighborhood was filled with kids my age, and we were all close and would hang out after school.  My home life was great. I lived with both my parents and my little brother Mason. During the summer, we would all meet up with one another and go into someone's backyard and have a bonfire while the parents would talk about who knows what...while us kids would play games, like ghost when someone would hide behind the barn and count once they came out.

I remember my mom would always put me and my brothere before her, even for the small things. Some nights for dinner she would make spaghetti, knowing it was my all-time favorite food, and she did not like it that much at all.

Going to high school was a change for me, but a good change.  I made more friends and felt like everything was good in my life. I was part of the color guard and loved my team so much.

One night I went to a school play, The Addams Family, with my dad and my brother. It got me really interested in joining a theater class. I loved that class more than life.

This is where I met Joseph. He moved to Centerville during first quarter, and he fit into our group of friends right away.  He was tall with dark eyes and dark hair that was a bit long on top. He was full of life and being around him was always a fun time. He had one of the best smiles and a memorable laugh that would end up making you laugh too. I remember toward the end of the semester, we had to produce a play that Joseph and I had to work on together. We were both in charge of the lights, and the whole time we were just messing around and joking.

I always knew that Joseph was a bit of a thrill seeker, sometimes even risky and dangerous. He was carefree but sometimes too carefree at times. I was at a band competition last fall; it was September 22, 2017.  My mom had sent me a link to a news story and asked if I knew the guy. I opened it up and read Joesep's name and was in disbelief. There had to be a mistake.

Joeseph had put himself into a dangerous situation, where he tried a Youtube challenge and had the worst outcome. It was too dangerous, and he got hit by a train. Losing Joseph was one of the hardest things that I had to deal with. I felt alone and isolated. I have never experienced this kind of pain; I never really experienced death before, and I mean sometimes it can hurt you and the others around you.

ALthough I lost him as a result of a risky mistake, I still love Joseph and I'm forever blessed to have had him in my life.

It's been a year since his death. On the anniversary I remember looking up as the sun was setting, and I saw the most beautiful unbelieveable sunset. Seeing the sunset made me feel like Joseph was still here with me and that's when I knew that wherever he was, he was okay.

Kenzie Wilkinson is a student at Centerville High School. Special Thanks to Tricia Rapoch, teacher for the Communication Arts Program at Centerville High School. Learn more at the school's website:  http://www.centerville.k12.oh.us/CHS  Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.