ASA: Only the good die young

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life...
-Green Day
Today marks another anniversary. But the significance of this day is a little bit different than some of the anniversaries I’ve blogged about. Eleven years ago today marks the start of a trend I wish would have never begun. Eleven years ago today I was 16 years old enjoying life being a typical boy-crazed teenager. I don’t think I’ll ever forget April 13, 2000. 

My best friends at the time (Tara, Ashley C. and Ashley R.) were over at my house making our own personalized Sophomore Tanks to wear the next day at school because we were having class competitions.  We were super excited for the events, specifically because we were going up against the senior girls who weren’t exactly fond of us (and for the record – we beat them in tug-of-war, yes I remember). 

Then came the phone call that changed everything. I answered the phone and it was another classmate calling me whose father had a scanner. The convo went something like, “Melissa, have you heard about Abby?” I responded no and she said, “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I think she’s been in an accident and didn’t make it.” I didn’t believe the words she had just said. I hung up the phone and raced to my dad and told him the rumor. At about that same time, my sister-in-law at the time, Teresa came by the house. She busted through the front door and confirmed the most tragic news to my 16-year-old self. I dropped to the ground and began sobbing. 

Abby, my dad/her grandpa, Me 
Up until April 13, 2000 I had never dealt with death. Sure three of my grandparents had passed away but that was years ago and before I understood the concept of losing a loved one. On April 13, 2000 not only did I lose a family member, but I also lost two more friends in the blink of an eye. On April 13, 2000 life and my concept of life, living, death and dying would be changed forever. On April 13, 2000 we lost Abby Brunetti, Salem Hayden and Ashley Harry. 

Growing up in a “smaller” town and living in Frontenac (while I went to Pittsburg schools) I was frequently around the Frontenac girls. My best friend and neighbor, Sarah went to Frontenac and we frequently played together when we were younger. Because of this, I was invited to her parties and knew several of the Frontenac girls my age. Also, my niece Abby was the same grade as me (don’t even ask me to explain that one) and I spent a lot of time with her, including the same Frontenac girls. Additionally, I spent several summers with Ashley. My babysitter Jill was best friends with her older sister Tiffany so we were around each other quite a lot.

Of course with growing up and starting high school, we weren’t as close as we once were. Abby and I still spent all holidays together and were even working together at Chicken Annie’s on the weekend to support our teenage lifestyles. I remember when she got her car and she took me for a ride. I remember when I finally got mine and taking her for a ride. We were growing up so fast. I can still hear her laugh.

Abby & Me before braces...eeks!
I didn’t know it at the time, but April 13, 2000 marked the first of many deaths I would be faced with over the next several years of my life. At 16 years old, no one should have to lose a friend; let alone 3 in one day. At 16 years old, no one should have to attend three funerals within two days, one of which being a family member. It’s so hard to understand why and each passing year doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s hard not to think about where each of them would have been today. It’s hard to not wonder why God chose them. One other girl was also in the car that day and thankfully survived. I often wonder if she remembers what they were talking about minutes before the accident happened. Who were they gossiping about? What song was on the radio? Were they singing along?

It doesn’t make it any easier to think about those things. All I can hope is that once the accident happened they each went fast and in peace. I can only hope that they rose to heaven, hand in hand, in no pain.

I still dream about Abby. She still looks the same as she did when she was 16. Giggly. Bubbly. Just as I remember her. I often have dreams that it was all a big mistake. That she just disappeared for a brief period of time. Then she comes back and life is just as it was. Finally, I wake up and realize it was all a dream even though for a brief moment it felt so real.

It may be eleven years later, but time doesn’t always heal all the pain.  Today we remember Abby Brunetti, the bubbly track star, Salem Haden the basketball star and Ashley Harry, the beautiful red-headed cheerleader.  Today as we remember, I ask that you share your favorite memories of the girls in the comments section below.  They all brought joy to our lives in their own unique way and those memories we will treasure and remember forever.

I love you girls.

-Stay Sassy, xo

1 comment:

  1. All three girls were great girls with, like you said bubbly spirits!! They are still greatly missed!


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