Dear Danielle

Dear Danielle,

I have thought deeply about you for the past three days, even though we didn’t know each other well. I am certain that words do not yet exist to express the grief that so many people are experiencing. When I heard of your passing, I thought surely the information had been crossed somewhere. Someone so vibrant, so loving, so young, couldn’t possibly be gone. Life isn’t fair, not even a little bit, but life especially wasn’t fair on Sunday, March 27, 2016. In hindsight, I deeply regret not hugging you more, not listening to you more intently, & for not pushing the standard How are you?  with more sincerity.

The last time I saw you was at Tayla’s baby shower. We sat across from each other & for the first time, we were able to talk about topics unrelated to work. I remember that you were frustrated with your plumber because he was terrible at keeping his appointments with you. You not only made everyone laugh in hysterics about the plumber, but you beamed with joy in sharing every story. I learned about you that afternoon & we both agreed that we needed to see each other outside of work soon. But, life happened to both of us. Our schedules were demanding. I wish I could go back to that day so I could hug you & never let you go. To look you in the eyes & tell you that I love you & that I am here for you. That you have an army of supporters, ready to brave the fight with you. 

From the outside looking in, you were the ideal woman who had it all. You were warm, kind, gentle. Beautiful, with a million-dollar-smile that no one could possibly ignore. Your ponytails always made me jealous, each thick strand of hair bouncing in perfect unison with your footsteps. You were so vibrant & colorful in the way you lived your life. Your sense of humor was absolutely delightful. You had priceless friends. You travelled, took killer selfies, dressed like a queen, & smiled with such genuineness. 

Danielle, I know what your life looked like from the outside… but I wonder what your life looked like from the inside, especially now. You, such a stunning soul, were enduring such brutal suffering, yet you seemed to glide through life effortlessly. You made life look easy, despite the many silent battles you faced. You fought for so long, so beautifully, until the force of life’s waves crashed around you in such a violent manner that you were unable to keep your head above the water. So you took one last breath & you let go.

Although I am grateful you are no longer in pain, I am heartbroken that your family & friends will have to face each coming morning without you. The days seem longer, the nights seem unending, & the sleep waivers. You were a blessing on this earth to each of us. We are reminded of you, we feel you here with us, & not a moment passes that we do not think of you. I hope you can feel our love for you & know that you were never alone. Even though you are no longer physically here with us on earth, you will always remain a beautiful friend, a beautiful soul, & a beautiful human being. 

You are home now. The ocean, with every ripple against the shore, will carry your pain in its tides so you no longer need to bear it.  Rest in heavenly peace, my sweet angel. Until we meet again. 

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