A friend lost, an angel gained 

Dear Colleen,

In the second grade I yelled at you because you got too close for comfort in the lunch line and I told you to stop “squishing me like a sandwich.”

I didn’t know it then, but you would become a great friend and leave an imprint on my life for years to come.
At 20-years-old, you don’t prepare for death. You don’t prepare to lose your friends. You don’t think about life after they’re gone. You shouldn’t have to. 

We did.

I don’t think your passing will fully hit me for awhile. I know you’re gone— I know that. I’ve cried so much my eyes swelled up like purple balloons. But I still find myself wanting to text you ridiculous pictures of animals and funny pictures of myself with a double chin or an ugly face. I want to text you that I’m here for you and that I love you and that I’m glad we’re friends. I want to receive a text back saying “I love you too” with two pink hearts. I want to go back to the days we were still in school and find ourselves in situations we shouldn’t be in. I want to take ridiculous pictures of ourselves doing silly things. I want you to be here. 

I find myself thinking about all the times I could have been a better friend or listener. I think about times I could have been less selfish and more caring. I wonder about the what if’s and the should and could haves. I wonder, I wonder…

I wish I had better words to type or better thoughts to share. Truthfully, all I know is that I am going to miss you more than I prepared myself for. I always told myself that this day would never come. I always thought “it’ll probably never happen…she’ll get better,” but you didn’t. 

You’re a way better woman than I will ever be. Your strength and attitude alone is more profound than my entire being. You were a special soul, a silly individual, a beautiful woman. 

And girl, if I could have switched places with you, I swear I would have.

I’m glad you’re at peace now, wherever that may be. I’m glad your suffering has ceased and that must be a beautiful feeling. I like to imagine you’re with angels now, keeping an eye out for all of us in this world. Whatever world you’re in right now, I can’t wait to see you again. And maybe if you’ve met my dad, you can tell him I love him? Or maybe just inform him how much of a pain in the ass I’ve grown to be?

Colleen, please know your death is not in vain. I swear to you that your passing will make me a better person. I’ll be more caring and less self-centered. More thoughtful and less impatient. I’ll be kinder to friends and even more kind to strangers. I’ll preach sunscreen until the day I die. You will not be forgotten. Your story will not be ignored.

You’ve touched so many lives and I’m thankful to be one of them. Above all else, I’m thankful for every memory we’ve ever made. Your life and your death have taught me more than I imagined it would. 

You were a beautiful soul and an even more beautiful angel.

Every time I see a ray of sun, a rainbow, or feel a gust of wind I’ll know it’ll be you. 

I love you so much. I always will.

Love,

Looloo

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Feature Writing #1- Something Lost

Most days I dread going into work.

There’s never telling what will be thrown at me that day or what I’ll get yelled at for this time. I’m fairly sure customer service was created by the devil himself.

I’ll be the first to tell you that the public, for the most part, can be really rotten to those working service jobs or sales positions. However, sometimes things happen. Surprising things. Great, unexpected things. I like to think when these ‘things’ happen, they are a sign from something or someone mightier that everything will be okay. I won’t be stuck forever.

Yesterday, September 5th, was just an ordinary evening. Long and agonizingly slow for a Tuesday. Most nights go quickly, but there was something about Tuesday night that just dragged…and dragged…and dragged.

Just as I was about to start sorting new stock, he came in.

“Hello. Can I have this wrapped please?”

I looked over to a big, brawny man clad in flannel. Not a man to mess with. As tough as he looked, though, he still smiled. Flannel man handed over his bag and receipt, but when I placed his purchases on the counter, I was a taken aback.

Three of the frilliest, girliest dresses I have ever seen lay sprawled before me.

“They’re for my daughter. She turns twelve today. I picked them out myself, I just hope she likes them,” he half smiled at me.

Moments like these have a strange way of shattering my heart and gluing it back together all at once.

As he spoke about both of his daughters, I felt a great warmth for the two. I am stoked that those two little girls have a light in their life as bright as their father. They will always know what love is as their memories develop over the years.

Meeting him reminded me of a time when I was very young. I can’t even remember how old. I had come home from my first day of school, upset because I was made fun of by the other girls. While the other little girls showed up to their first day dolled up in dresses, I stuck out in jeans. My dad went out that night and bought me a brand-new dress to wear for the next day because he didn’t want to see me upset anymore. He did that, by himself, for me. Unfortunately, that’s one of the very few memories I have.

When my dad took his life, I didn’t just lose a dad.

I lost a parent, a friend. I lost a lifetime of memories. I lost a part of myself. I had more losses than a kid should have to experience.
But as I grow older, I realize that my life is full of gains, too.

The man that stopped in yesterday reminded me of the hurt I experienced but also how far I have come along the way.

Most of us experience tremendous loss at some point, regardless of what it may be. It can shatter us in ways unimaginable or it can toughen us up. If you’re lucky, it will do both.

Yesterday, I imagine the little girl received her beautiful tiny dresses from her wonderful dad.

And for me? Peace of mind.

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