It isn't often that events in life paralyze me. I'm usually a really good "doer". When life gets crazy I am one to grab control and take action. And yet when the phone rang last weekend with awful news, I froze. I'd purposefully left last Sunday wide open to organize, accomplish and get my newly formed LLC company a little further off go. Instead, it came to a grinding halt.
The phone call brought the news that my best friend from high school's daughter had died the night before in a car crash while away at college.
It was news no one ever wants to hear. She's just a baby...
So many thoughts and feelings hit me at once. I was silent as I processed. Instant sadness. Instant dread. Instant panic. Addie gone? No, it can't be. Then thoughts jumped immediately to Jan (her mom) and Jack (her little brother), oh my gosh how must they be feeling? What now? This can't be real---there must be some mistake---Addie's too young, she has too much life yet to live, she only just figured out what she was going to do with her life...she can't really be gone.
Then my thoughts switch to my own kids, I wonder is Mitch safe? Sadie? Jeffrey? Alec is home with me, so I know he is okay. I flashback to a picture from years ago of Addie and Jack and my kids on the living room couch. I remember how happy they all looked, their squiggly little bodies tanned and sweaty from the summer sun, and it makes me want to hug them all again, especially Addie.
On her birthday, last New Year's Day, Addie turned 18 and her facebook status was: And thus adulthood begins...Happy New Year! It takes my breath away that less than three months later, her adulthood has ended.
If ever there was a clear sign that our time here on Earth is limited, this is it. The death of a child brings that immediately into focus.
Addie's death will never make sense to me. Or to those who love her. She was so full of life. She had such big plans. She had yet to achieve so many things.
My earliest memories of her are as a sweet little princess with a huge smile and a ready hug. As she grew up her heart stayed just as big and led her on many wild adventures. Addie didn't really do anything halfway. If she loved, she loved fully. With her whole heart. If she wanted something, she went after it. With her whole heart. Although her time here with us was short, she lived and loved with everything in her.
I will always admire her for that. I'd say in her 18 years she lived more fully than I have in my 50+ years. Thinking of her mega watt smile will always remind me that I need to live that way as well. To stop being worried about the future and to enjoy each and every day. Because we never really know when our last day will be, do we?
I will forever miss Addie's random texts, facebook chats, phone conversations and summer vacation face to face visits. They always popped up at just the right time to teach me a lesson, and to make me think. Regardless of the drama that followed her at times, there was never a doubt that she cared hugely about those she loved. And she wasn't afraid to follow her heart. I cannot yet make any sense of this accident. Maybe I never will. I hope that someday I will know how I am to use this life lesson, this experience and these memories of her, to help others. Addie would want that.
I hope she is dancing, singing, smiling and hugging her way through heaven right now. Miss Addie you will never be forgotten.