When something tragic happens, obviously the initial action consists of mourning or becoming angry, but the challenge in the midst of misfortune is to maintain optimism. By no means am I an optimist, but I do try to pull lessons out from otherwise terrible events in life.
The world lost a truly wonderful person this week; Shelby Hladek was an extremely intelligent, caring, and determined young woman that should not have been taken away as soon as she was. Shelby and I were not very close friends, but we ate lunch together in middle school, did projects together in math class, and said hello to each other in the hallways…and now she has changed my life forever. It is unfortunate that it took such a devastating event for her to make her way into my heart, but that is what has happened. Born only two months before I was, she was just twenty years old on the day that she died. I find myself thinking, "It could have been me, it could have been my best friend, it could have been my sister", but it wasn't. We're all still here and we have the chance to learn from Shelby; I think it would all be in vein if we did anything other than that.
This week has been harder on me than I originally expected. I find myself thinking about what happened very often: while I'm trying to sleep at night, while I'm spending time with my sister, and especially while I am driving. Clearly what happened to Shelby has already affected me quite a bit and I don't think I am alone in saying that.
My hurt lessons:
1.) Drive safely- We're young and we think that we're invincible…it'll never happen to us, right? We're so very wrong. Wear your seatbelts, drive the speed limit, keep your phone in the trunk if you need to, and don't forget that it could happen to you.
2.) Remind people that you love them- I can't imagine leaving this place on bad terms with someone that I love…or vice versa. You may not get to say goodbye, so make your potential last words something that you'd be okay with leaving on. Let the petty stuff go and make sure they know you care.
3.) LIVE- Our generation is the worst about living on the internet, spending our time watching television, and wasting our youth. If I died today, I would be pissed off; I have hardly done anything that I want to do in my life. I need to start having more fun and living my life the way it should be lived.
You are so incredibly loved; I wish you could have seen the people at your service today. Your beautiful family, your closest friends, and your acquaintances from high school all come together to celebrate your life. There wasn't an empty seat or a dry cheek in the entire room. You have affected so many people and you will be missed more than you know. Your death was not in vein; it has already taught me so much and I know that I am not alone. You were such a beautiful person; the world would be a better place if more people were like you. Rest in peace.
My heart goes out to her family and friends; the strength you have shown is incredible. Please be careful, everyone. We do not need to lose another beautiful, young person anytime soon.