The people that touch our lives always leave some sort of impact on us. Some of the people we encounter may not have been with us for long but they can dramatically shape our lives in ways we could never anticipate or imagine. They become our reason to go on and they inspire us to be better people.
In sixth grade I moved to my current town and was, for the first time in my life, the new girl. It was so hard to fit in here because it was so different from where I came from. I was lucky to be in a class that had nice girls who befriended me. Three weeks after I moved, one of my friends, Kristen, invited me to a party with a bunch of other girls from our grade at this girl Casey's house. Casey was so nice and she included me in everything and introduced me to some of the friends I still have today. She was one of the nicest girls in our entire grade back then and she helped everyone and was incredible genuine. Even then, she was one of the most pure and truly kind people I have ever met. And she was only eleven.
In life, tragic things happen to people who least deserve it and can devastate an entire community.
When we finally graduated on to seventh grade, Casey was in my English class and in November we worked on a project with another girl. Casey left early because she did not feel good. Everyone thought nothing of it when Casey missed the next week of school, everyone assumed she caught the stomach bug. But it was much worse than that.
One unsuspecting Wednesday morning as we all sat in class, they gave us the announcement. Casey was diagnosed with leukemia. Everyone in our grade was so sad for her, she was one of the most sincere people we knew and no one had anything against her. We felt like she did not deserve this.
Soon after the news was broken to us, she came in to visit and she had already begun treatment, so she did not have her long brown hair anymore. She told us that she could do it and push through.
The entire year we were updated with news of her recovery and doctors predicted she would be well enough to join us in the eighth grade. She visited various times throughout the year and on holidays, she gave everyone candy. Despite her struggles, she still came in to see us and kept on giving. We heard that the treatment she was receiving was hard for her and she was really pushing through it. The treatment was the only chance she had and by the beginning of summer, things were really looking up and our grade could not wait to start our last year of middle school with an important part of our class with us.
It was good until July when Casey went under. The treatment was not working and she was regressing - and fast. Doctors knew she would not attend the first weeks or months of eighth grade but could not anticipate what really happened.
At the beginning of August, Casey lost her ferocious battle to cancer. She fought long and hard, but in the end it was just too much for her. Our entire town grieved, and when it came to the wake and funeral, everyone attended. No one wanted to miss paying respects to her. She was such an inspiration to us all. She was such a great person, she seemed above everyone else in the pure goodness of her heart. She never gave up and pushed through with the support of everyone around her. We were devastated that we had lost someone in our grade so young, and someone that we never expected any harm to come to. The funeral home had a line weaving around the building for a chance to see Casey's coffin and all the pictures and flowers that honored her wonderful life. Everyone cried and hugging was seen everywhere. Everyone was united in our sorrow. No one wanted her to go. We wanted her to beat it so that we could see her in the hallways and say, "Hey".
When we went back to school at the end of August it was bittersweet. It was awesome to be closer to high school, but it sucked that we lost someone along the way.
On the anniversary of her diagnosis, we had an assembly and Casey's closest friends spoke. No one who listened left without crying, even all the guys. I felt bad for some of my friends, as they were so close to her. All I could do was hug them and hope it was all a dream.
I never knew Casey like some of the people in my grade, but it was something we went through all together and it made us stronger. She taught me how to be a better person and gave me a reason to really be genuine. I realized how fragile life was and how we should cherish it because it could leave us so soon. I could live but one of the most wholesome and good people I have ever known could not. I think that what she did for a lot of people was to inspire them to be all that they could be - the way she always did when she was alive. Goodbye is always really hard and Casey did something special for me. She accepted me and gave me my friends. And she gave me hope that someday we can all touch someone's lives the way she touched hundreds. Forevermore.
"I can take the rain on the roof of this empty house, that don't bother me. I can take a few tears now and the just let 'em out. I'm not afraid to cry every once in a while even though going on with you gone still upsets me. There are days every now and again I pretend I'm okay." -Rascal Flatts "What Hurts the Most"