Ms. Sayler's class. Approximately 1993 or 1994. Fourth grade. Brooklyn was my best friend.
Some of my most vivid memories? Listening to her sing "She's In Love With a Boy" by Trisha Yearwood. Talking about her mom leaving. The day I went back to school after getting my butt-length curly hair cut to a shaved-in-the-back cut, she told me she didn't know who I was because her best friend had really long hair. We even had those best friend necklaces that were in two pieces, if my memory serves me right.
I don't really remember why we weren't best friends after that year, but I'm guessing it had to do with being in different classes in fifth grade.
Our senior year in high school, we had some classes together and were friends, although not close. There was a boy (isn't there always a boy in high school?) that I was interested in and she helped me set up a first date since her boyfriend was friends with this boy. We went midnight bowling together. I still have the pictures saved in a scrap book I made of my senior year. We talked more often after that.
The last time I remember talking to her was when she was at work at the grocery store and she and her boyfriend had just broken up. We didn't talk anymore after that and I only saw her at our last class reunion in 2006.
And she died yesterday. Leaving behind a husband and a baby boy who is 7 months old and tons of family from our hometown. All because someone overcorrected and hit her car head on. That person? Minor injuries and still alive.
When I found out this morning I felt like I had been sucker punched right in the face. Guess what? Tomorrow is never guaranteed. It doesn't matter that you have one kid or two kids or a husband. You or any one of them could be gone in an instant. Its scary to think about and I'm ready to cry just writing this now. Every day is a gift and we should treat it like it may be our last.