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21 June 2006 @ 10:32 am
July 8, 1986 - October 6, 2003
I have known Tammy for years. I remember when I was 13, I met her at a camp. I thought she was so cool because she was 15. After that day we became very close friends. As we grew older we were still very close. We would go jogging in the mornings every weekend. When I first entered high school, I was scared out of my mind but Tammy was there to get rid of my fears. Like other friends, we would have our small fights but nothing ever too serious. I remember everything all too well. On October 6, 2003's Monday morning, I went jogging with her before I had to go to school. She made a joke about my ex-boyfriend and it made me laugh so hard to the point where we had to stop running before something bursted. I'm not quite sure what started it but we got into an arguement. Some things were said that werent truely meant. I went home and got ready for school. I went on with my day as if any other day. After school I went home with nothing to do. All I did was sit on the computer instant messaging people. That Monday night, I recieved a phone call. It was Tammy's brother calling me in tears. She had gotten into a car accident. Four teenage boys were drag racing and one driver went to the other side of the rode trying to pass his friend without seeing Tammy coming. The two boys that were in that car lived. Tammy on the other hand, passed. Once her brother had told me this, I went into hysterics. I couldnt even comprehend what had just happened. Not only did I lose a close friend but I lost a close friend without resolving a conflict. That was my sophmore year, it was her senior year. She would have graduated in June of 2003. She was accepted into Penn State and was planning on majoring in Buisness Financing. She was so bright and beautiful. She had everything going for her. For a whole year, on the 6th of each month I would go to her grave to visit her. After that year, I couldnt go as much but I still went as often as I could. This coming October will be 3 years since she has passed and I still cant believe she's gone. I just graduated two days ago and on that day I cried not because my high school career was over but because my close friend, Tammy was not in the audience cheering me on and she didnt get to see that I finally made it. I got accepted into Penn State just like she did and I was planning on majoring in Accounting. But because of money problems I cant attend that school but I will be attending William Paterson University. When I recieved my acceptance letter from Penn State, I could not believe my eyes. My whole childhood dream has come true and I would have went to the school that Tammy was attending. I cant even express how much I miss her. Just thinking about that day brings me into tears. I wish we had our conflict resolved. I miss her greatly. She will always remaine in my heart. She was such a wonderful "big sister", she was always there to listen to my problems and give me advice.
18 June 2006 @ 09:50 pm
My cousin Stephanie Lee will always be a role model and inspiration to me. She was born without much of a chance at life. She was born with more medical problems then you can ever even begin to imagine. She had more transplants then most doctors would ever think of performing on one individual person. She lived in and out of hospitals most of her life.

But she was such an incredibly strong person. No matter what she was going through, she had such a positive attitude. She was the kind of person who could brighten your day, just by being there. She would assure us that everything would be ok, and that she would be alright.

She was also someone that you could always go to. Her advice was amazing. Even though she had the right to be selfish, she never ever was. She was always there to lend an ear and a shoulder. Her life experiences had made her so wise. I personally, looked up to my older cousin, and went to her for alot of things. There were times when I felt bad about doing such, but she always told me that that's what she was for. The last 2 years or so of her life, we were wicked close.

Unfortunately, the doctors just couldn't save her. At the age of 17, she died. But when she died, she was smarter and wiser then most adults will ever be. Because of all the work she did, she would have graduated high school that June. (She died in April.) She will always be an inspiration and a role model though. She amazes me to this day, she outlived the doctors' expectations by 7 years! When I say she was strong, I'm not kidding!

There are times when I still don't believe she is gone...even though it has been 3 years. There are times when I still think, "oh she's down in Pittsburgh at the specialist hospital, she'll be home soon." (I live in Maine.) But no matter how much I think this, it's not true. I miss her so much. I miss having her to go to. I miss having her inspiration. But like I said, she will always be an inspiration and a role model to me.
16 June 2006 @ 11:33 am
Last night I was thinking about impact. I found someone on Myspace that has created an account specifically to look for me. I thought, "Wow, that's impact." I somehow managed to touch that person's life, while I barely remember who they are. I began to think of whom I would contact or search for- who made an impact on my life. The only person I could think of was Stuart Miller, who was my boyfriend in first, second, and third grade. Coincidentally, when I logged on today, I saw this. Still thinking of impact, here I go...

Stuart Miller attended West Jefferson Elementary School with me about 22 years ago. I thought he was cool because he wore "Twisted Sister" shirts to school. I didn't know who Twisted Sister was, but I thought they seemed exciting. It's hard to remember exactly what he looked like, but I'm pretty sure he was blonde with blue eyes. This explains my attraction to men later in life with the same features.

I became Stuarts's girlfriend in music class in between "Ta, Ta, tee, tee, Ta" and handbell lessons. He sat two or three rows behind me and passed me a note that read, "I love you. Do you love me? Yes, No, Maybe. Pick one and pass it back, Love Stuart. I chose yes, and passed it back.

Stuart must have started Chemotherapy for his Leukemia in about second grade, but kids don't talk about that kind of thing. All we really knew was that Stuart had to sit out from recess and field day and the playground monitor said it was because if he scraped his knee just a little bit, he could bleed to death. The boys didn't get it, and called Stuart names like "Sissy" and "Gay". It probably didn't help his case that I decided to sit with him instead of leaving him alone, and we would play tic-tac-toe or hangman. Boys were expressly forbidden to play with girls unless, like Scott, they were "gay".

Things only got worse for Stuart, as his hair, eyebrows and eyelashes began to fall out; everyone knew he was really sick. He would miss school often, and would get sick and have to leave early when he was there sometimes. I think the teachers did their best to protect him, but kids are just cruel, and he was teased mercilessly. Everyone was scared they would get what Stuart had. My dark secret was that I was pretty sure I gave it to him, because we kissed one time in first grade. Sometime in third grade we were on the way back from a field trip to the Museum of Nature and Science. Stuart was sitting alone; all of the kids were chanting that Stuart had "cooties". They left a few seats in between him them, to ensure they didn't catch his cooties. Stuart began to cry. Then, they started to call him a Sissy. Stuart was tired, sick, hairless, and sad. This was my defining moment as a child, and probably as an adult as well. If I stood up for Stuart, I would be teased too.

I pulled out a piece of notebook paper and wrote, "I love you, do you love me? Yes, no, maybe. Pick one, and then pass back to me. Love, Wendi" (This was my childhood nickname) I scooted up seat by seat past the stupid taunting boys and girls, and surprised Stuart. He scooted over in his seat and I handed him the note. I remember his smile. He had tearstains down both of his too pale cheeks, but he grinned at me. He took the paper and circled "yes" and handed it back to me. I smiled back, put the paper in my pocket, and held Stuart's hand for the long journey back to Conifer.

Stuart never came back to school. We received an announcement a few days later in Mr. Laird's third grade class that he had passed. My friend Nikki Neibower (who always sucked her thumb) pulled me aside to tell me her mother had been one of Stuart's nurses and that he had asked for me before he died. I will always miss Stuart. He changed my life, and he is one of the reasons I am who I am today. I hope that his parents know what an amazing impact he had, even though he was only here for a short time. I remember that Stuarts dream had been to fly with the Blue Angels, and I think it was granted or had come close to being granted through the Make-A-Wish foundation.

I'm now in nursing school, studying to be an R.N. It is my hope that I am able to impact the lives of others as much as Stuart impacted mine. I thank you for this forum, and I reach out to all of you that lost someone, and say, "Thank you for remembering."
Current Mood: nostalgic
16 June 2006 @ 08:16 am
I've known Dunja since I was a baby. She was born in 1992, only a year younger than me, and she was even named after me. We attended kindergarten together for several years and been best friends then, but sort of grew apart when we started school. We still stayed friends and hung out, just not as often.

In 4th grade (Dunja was 9 years old), we had found out she was diagnosed with leukemia. The whole school and the rest of the institutions in a relatively small town, all participated and helped her family with money, since they weren't exactly rich, and the medicine was expensive.

Two years went by, and Dunja (then 11) returned to school. Everyone was happy, and they all said that she had recovered and won't have any more problems. Her hair grew out, she was seen happily playing with her friends during recess, and she had excellent grades.

And then, two more years later when she was 13, we all recieved some bad news that the leukemia was back as soon as Dunja had hit puberty. We raised funds once again, but each day my mum came back saying that the money wasn't enough, and that Dunja was feeling awful because the daily shots against pain were too expensive for her family. Her family sold everything they had in order to raise money for her medicine.

Our teacher came back one day in tears when the class was feeling particularly non-focused, and started yelling at us to quit fooling around with our lives and to stop being lazy, because Dunja, who was only 13 years old and dying, wants to have her homework brought to the hospital, she's studying and taking final exams in order to pass 7th grade.

Sad to say, she never managed it. On September 22, 2005 at 9:35 in the morning, I had recieved a text message saying "Dunja died." My first reaction was denial. I went and told her class mistress, was numb for several minutes, and then just snapped in two. I think I spent about 4 hours in the lavatory, on the floor, crying my insides out.

Her funeral was held two days later. The entire graveyard wasn't enough. The whole town showed up, she was in a white coffin, the service was beautiful and I was unable to stop crying.

I cried for her every day for another three weeks, I think. And now when I look through old kindergarten pictures, she's on nearly all of them, I burst into tears. I pray for her all the time, but I know that she's in heaven now, being awarded for all her pain in this world.
15 June 2006 @ 12:34 am
Isaac Rodriguez was born on December 12, 1988. He was an active member of his church and the school band. He was also my best friend. On Thursday, Febuary 9th, 2006 as he was walking home from band practice down a seemingly abandoned road an 18 wheeler struck him from behind. The truck did not have it's lights on, he was wearing black listening to his CD player. He did not die instantly. He died on his way to the hospital and the doctors say it was very painful.
I was going to call him that night. The carnival was in town and I wanted to know if he wanted to go with me that Saturday. (I was transfered to another high school earlier that year so we didn't see each other that much during the week) I put off calling him until Friday, thinking he might not be home yet. That Friday morning as I was getting ready for school I got a call from my brother who was already in school. He asked me if my friend's name was Isaac Rodriguez. I replied yes and he said "he's dead" and I was so mad because I thought he was joking with me. Then I got to school and a mutual friend of ours hugged me and asked "did you hear?" and that was when my world ended. It hasn't been the same and I'm sure it wont' ever be. He means the world to me and sometimes it's like I can't breathe without him. I just try to be strong and try to remember the good memories because that's all I have left of him.
13 June 2006 @ 04:25 pm
Caitlin Alexandra Dunbar was born March 9, 1989 to Marty and Alex. After a rough pregnancy, and a near-fatal delivery, both mother and daughter were reunited and brought home safely.

The couple didn't even try for another biological child, instead they adopted two girls from Asia over the years.

On December 24, 2004, Caitlin had her wisdom teeth removed. All throughout Christmas day she was in alot of pain. And she couldn't get her teeth to stop bleeding! Sunday night, December 26, she went to the hospital because she was sick to her stomach and dehydrated. There they diagnosed her with a sepsis infection and decided to airlift her to John's Hopkins.

At Hopkins she was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). She was told she had a 90% chance to live, and the doctors immediately started to help her fight the cancer. Late in the afternoon they took Caitlin to the OR to install a ventilator tube in her airway (due to the swelling from her teeth extraction). They also installed a dialysis machine to protect her kidneys from the strain of the chemotherapy that was soon to begin (as leukemia cells die they release toxins that go through the kidneys).

She was stable and her parents went home, however they were called back as soon as they got home. And then she died, early Tuesday morning, December 28, 2004, at only 15 years of age, and not even 24 hours after being diagnosed.

Caitlin was a good friend of mine. I couldn't believe my friend when she told me the news. Your friends aren't SUPPOSED to die, especially when you're only a sophomore in high school, and especially not right after Christmas!! Her death still reverberates through my life today, and sometimes I am so consumed with grief that I forget everything good that has happened. Before she died I didn't know any God. After her death I dropped to my lowest low, and almost took my own life, but hanging on, for her, so I wouldn't cheat another teenager out of a life, God blessed me in ways I couldn't even imagine. She's now at peace, and she's with Him, and that brings a smile to my face. I take comfort in knowing that I will see her again one day, even when my heart longs to be with her, for just a minute...

The site dedicated to Caitlin is: http://home.comcast.net/~remembering.caitlin/what_happened.htm

Remember your friends, now, while they're still alive. Tell them each day that you love them. Don't pass up the chance... you never know when it will pass YOU up...

God Bless you and have a BEAUTIFUL day!!
Current Mood: thoughtful