I don't really get too serious on here a lot but this post is different. A former classmate of mine from high school recently passed away from bacterial meningitis. It happened so suddenly and so tragically. Her name was Haley and she was a great girl. I'm not going to sit here and pretend we were BFFs or even close friends. We weren't. I was acquaintances with her and hardly more than that. But her passing gave everyone quite a shock and really put things into perspective, especially for me.

Haley was one of the smartest girls in our grade, she was always in the best classes and trying her very hardest. More than this, she loved to work. She worked at Dean & Deluca and I'm almost positive I saw her there more than I saw her at school. She was mature well beyond her years and acted a little more like a 25 year old than a 19 year old.

I think the closest I was to her was probably sophomore year when we were all still making friends and friend groups and meeting new people. She was quiet, but in a modest way. She only spoke up when she really wanted to. I never got to know her as well as I should have, and I don't know if I would have had she been around longer. And that's just one regret I'll have to live with.


This tragedy made me realize a few things.

1. Live every day to its fullest.
This doesn't mean you have to go sky-diving, cliff-jumping, marathon-ing every single day, but just live without regrets. If you want to go on vacation, go on that damn vacation. If you want to skip a class, skip that class. Just be happy because you never know when your time is up.

2. Hug your loved ones a little tighter.
Haley had no idea that Friday, May 29th would be her last opportunity to hug anyone. So take an extra moment every chance you get to hug, kiss, say 'I love you', high-five, fist-pound or whatever. Show how you feel before its too late.

3. Be kind.
I mean this in the broadest meaning possible. Give a smile here and there to strangers, get to know that girl you sit next to every week in calculus, or help your mom unload groceries from her SUV. Haley left everyone remembering her infectious smile, and what a great memory of anyone.

These are just a few thoughts that have been just swimming around in my mind for the last 48 hours and I needed to get them down in writing. Keep Haley's family in your prayers, I cannot even begin to imagine how they must feel. Keep her friends in your prayers as well, I cannot fathom losing someone so close to me. And keep your sorority sisters in your heart, Haley was a Pi Phi at the University of Kansas and was so lucky to have an amazing sisterhood.

An email from her sister notifying friends and family of Haley's passing put it this way: "God needed her more than we do, but find comfort in knowing you have a friend waiting for you in heaven with open arms and a bright smile." I find it amazingly beautiful. Rest in peace Haley. I can't wait to chat up there some day.

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