Seven and a half years. It’s funny how time works — how a lot has happened in seven and a half years, but some things remain the same. I write that with a smile because one of those precious things that has remained untouched is my memory of my sweet friend, gone too soon: Hannah.
In my mind, Hannah is frozen in time — alive and well, eternally ebullient, and soulful beyond her years. And what a gift that is, because since September 26, 2013, not a day has gone by without her crossing my mind. Sometimes it’s obvious. I hear a giggle that reminds me of her laugh or see a little girl with half of her fiery energy (half is about as close as I’ve gotten to encountering anyone with a spirit quite like Hannah’s). Other days, it’s a quieter reminder. A reality check when life gets hard. Her memory never fails to bring me back down to earth.
I remember Hannah for her positivity, intentionality, and resilience — three principles that helped me build my life after Hannah’s death. Little did I know that I’d continue learning from her well beyond our years together.
I’d remain positive in difficult situations because she dealt with the worst of the worst but never stopped smiling. I’d say “yes” more than “no” because I learned the value of life at a young age. No challenge too daunting, no adventure out of reach. She pushes me to see the world — really see the world, work harder than anyone else in the room, be discerning in friendships (because she was the best friend), love without conditions, and live without regrets. I am resilient because of a simple question that I often ask myself when life is less than perfect: “what would Hannah do?” And the answer is always: be grateful that I get to keep going.
At 13, I promised myself that I would do my best to make her proud. At 22, I wish she was here. I wish we could experience the adventures together. I wish we could giggle about boys over a glass of wine. I wish I knew what college she would have gone to – what she would have studied, how her career would unfold. I think she would be playing soccer, probably laughing at the girls in sororities, and studying something that would jumpstart a career of helping others.
Above all, I wish I could see the amazing woman that she turned out to be, but I find peace in knowing part of that amazing woman lives in me.
Thank you, Hannah.