There is a picture of a dead man on my wall. He was not dead when the picture was taken. He was sitting near me as we both smiled happily, awkwardly, in ways that only teenagers can.
I am not a teenager anymore. Age has grown through and over my body, though I am not old. Not yet.
As the living become the dead, I feel the weight of their memory as a scar upon my past where once there was levity. Two of my classmates have passed in as many days; three in as many months; more when I count the years.
The picture on the wall contains many friends. The rest of us are quite alive and my buoyancy remains, but the weight does not get lighter. Rather, I must find new strength to carry the weight, to lift it off the earth so that it does not drag.
This may be what metaphorically makes you stronger, but, for today, the new burdens leave me tired.
Rest in peace, Matthew and Jake.