Does it feel like it’s been a year?
And at the same time, no. I still have flashbacks to the exact moment when I found out I would never get to hug my best friend again.
This Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the bus accident that ended one life and changed so many others, including mine.
I befriended Anabel Reid during the first semester of our freshman year. A little over a year later, we hugged goodbye after dinner one night. I didn’t know it would be our last goodbye.
But now, I don’t want my focus to be on the accident or the aftermath. Instead I simply want to remember the sweet spirit of an incredible girl who I have thought about every single day for the last year.
There are so many things I want to tell Anabel. If I had the chance, these are the things we would talk about: my adventures studying abroad last semester, her plans to work with people who need clean water and our plans to visit Africa. We would laugh about the latest shenanigans we had gotten ourselves into. I would tell her how much I’ve needed her this semester. Most importantly, I would tell her how much she means to me.
I would also tell her about the incredible impact she made on my life as well as the lives of many others. During the time I knew her, she was an inspiration to me. Even after her death, she still continued to make a difference.
Last March, the Anabel Reid Run for Water raised more than $30,000 to build wells for people who don’t have clean drinking water. I truly believe if Anabel saw that figure now, she would burst into tears of joy. But she would give all the credit to God.
During the nights after the accident, I found myself sobbing on the floor asking God one question: Why? I wasn’t angry at Him and I didn’t doubt Him for a minute. But I still wanted to know why Anabel was taken.
Finally, it hit me. Anabel wasn’t taken away. God allowed her to come home. She was ready and willing to be with her Savior. Instead of grieving on Sunday, there will be a party in heaven to celebrate Anabel’s new birthday.
The pain hasn’t gone away. The longing hasn’t gone away. Most importantly, the love and memories haven’t gone away and they never will go away. Though I lost one incredible friend, I’m still surrounded by friends who love me. We clung to each other after Anabel’s death, and, because we shared that terrible experience together, our bond is stronger than ever.
Through this whole ordeal, I’ve learned some very important lessons. I’ve learned that God will never put you through more than you can bear. I’ve learned the true value of friendship. And, as cliche as it sounds, I’ve learned to never take anything or anyone for granted. Nothing in this life is permanent, except the love of Christ and the promise of eternal life with Him.
I miss you, Anabel. And I love you.
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