I’ve re-started this beginning sentence at least a dozen times.
Now that I’ve admitted I have no clue where to begin, I guess we will start with today….
Today I was able to visit with some dear friends… I’ve known Jessica for more than 10 years and Matt, for the past 7.Jessica and my older sister are close to the same age, and Jessica’s younger sister Bethany was my age.
Growing up, we were all inseparable.
Spend-the-nights. Holidays. Youth Group. Mission’s trips…. Many of my favorite high school memories are with Bethany.
We had so much fun together! You know that friend that you have that you can just be silly with? That was her.
When I was 16, she went to intern on a mission trip to Mexico and I stayed home. It was one of the first trips we didn’t do together. She e-mailed and messaged me on AIM while she was gone (This was before the days of Skype)… and everything seemed to be going great!
I’ll never forget the night my dad called me and told me, “Get home now.” He had a sternness in his voice as I tried to convince him to let me spend a little bit longer with my friends during an Independence Day Celebration. No convincing would do, and I hurried home.
When I got there, he told me Bethany had been in an accident in Mexico. Before he could finish, 10 million questions were coming out… the most important being, “Is she ok??”
Bethany was riding in a 15-passenger van with other interns when the tire tread separated and cause the van to flip multiple times. Two people were instantly killed and others were seriously injured. Bethany was in the group of seriously injured… and she didn’t make it.
Today, I met all of Jessica’s kids for the first time. Christopher is the oldest, then Bethany, named after her aunt, and Blair. Jessica told them they were going to meet their Aunt’s “very best friend.” Little Bethany was so excited because she was dying to know what her favorite animal was…
As we sat around the condo, I remembered one of the last things she wrote in her journal: “What we do in life, echoes throughout eternity.” At 16, she couldn’t have been more correct.
Little did she know, the loss of her life would save hundreds more through VanAngels – a non profit started by the victim’s families to educate people on the dangers of 15 passenger vans.
Though it does not make her absence easier, it does give peace knowing that her life is still affecting the lives of others. Today, we have a lot to be thankful for.