Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For Dana

My life was put on hold last week when I found out a good friend had passed unexpectedly, a day before she was flying out to visit me and my roommates in DC.

It's so very strange how one minute, you're living life, joking about a newspaper clipping, discussing how awful the Urban Outfitters magazines have been lately while eating a bowl of cereal, and the next, you're on the floor in tears, screaming, knowing nothing will ever be the same again from that point on. All you want is to remember what it's like to not feel numb. You want answers, you want to be able to feel your hands, you want the noise and questions flying through your head to stop, you want to close your eyes, stop the tears, and go back to the life you were living only a few minutes before the chaos and tragedy struck with that simple phone call.

But it isn't that easy. Life is always there to throw you curveballs, and sometimes those curveballs are more like bowling balls to the stomach and it isn't fair.

I went back and forth about this, trying to decide if I should blog about Dana or not. I thought maybe it was too personal, maybe I should skip it and continue blogging about the things I was blogging about before this happened, maybe I should act like it never happened but something in me hates that idea. Something in me is saying I need to blog about this. I need to show the world her beauty and within this post, find some closure for myself.
I think it helps sometimes to write about the things that break you down. It forces you to face reality and helps close the gaps that make you weak.

So, that's what I'm doing. I'm going to celebrate her life and share with those who didn't know her just how beautiful she was, and I'm hoping this will help. Not only me, but help those reading this appreciate the life they were given, and appreciate those around them. You never know what tomorrow will bring, so cherish those moments spent with your loved ones. Throw hatred away and hug more often. Say, "I love you" every chance you get and realize arguments and negativity only make you weaker. We have no time to waste. "Live the life you've imagined" and don't waste another second.

In 8th grade, we started a little click that we called, MAKKL. There were five of us (Me, Dana, Kendal, Megan and Regina) and each letter in MAKKL was the first letter of each of our last names. The closeness we shared came quickly, and none of us can really remember when or how it happened, but I'm so glad it did. Those girls were and still are the best friends I've ever had. I'm always reminded of this when I watch one of my favorite movies, "Stand By Me." There's a quote near the end that always chokes me up.
"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"

MAKKL was more than a friendship. We had a truly special bond that lasted throughout the years. Even though we split up after middle school and went to different high schools, we all stayed close, even throughout college. We fluctuated in closeness with the comings and goings of new boyfriends, new friends, new jobs, new cities, but that underlying friendship was always there, and always just as strong as it ever was.

Losing Dana feels like I lost a part of myself, and I know the rest of MAKKL feels the same. It's going to take a long time before we're healed, though I know we'll never heal completely. For now I want to try my hardest to remember her in a positive light.
To honor her memory with funny pictures and stories rather than tears and sadness because I know Dana would definitely prefer funny over sad. She truly was the life of the party, and I know she would really hate to see us cry. It was impossible to be sad around her because she was just such a sweet, warm person. She laughed more than anyone I've ever known. She had a vibrant personality and you simply weren't able to be in a bad mood or frown when you were with her because she was goofy and giggly 100% of the time and everyone loved her for it.

Driving the 14 hours home for her funeral was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
Arriving at the funeral home was even more unreal. After turning the car off, I sat there, motionless with Regina and Megan in the parking lot. I looked over and saw that Kendal and David were doing the same thing in the car next to us. None of us knew what to do. None of us wanted to be the first one to open our door.
When we finally felt ready, we headed inside... The four of us migrated to the tiny bathroom and stood looking at our feet, hugging, crying. There were no words.
We knew we had to say goodbye. We had to be there for each other, and for Dana's parents, and for everyone else who was coming to show their support.
We had to stay strong for Dana.

Dana's parents found this post card in her room at home and hung it on a board they put together. (I was 15 when I wrote this.)

After Dana's service, the four of us decided to get MAKKL tattoos. Regina's parents heard we were doing this and decided they wanted to pay for them. I love her parents so much. They didn't have to do that, but we were all so grateful.

After throwing around a few ideas, we finally came up with this sketch:

I love these girls. Every day is a new chapter in this book we call life. From now on, I'll take nothing for granted. I'll love openly and with all I've got and hold nothing back. Each day is precious, and I'm going to try my hardest to not forget that.

We'll miss you, Dana, but you can be sure that your memory will live on in all of us.


  1. this was such an amazing post Amanda....I know I told you once before but I'm sorry for your loss...and this was such a great way to honor her and share with us who she was and your tattoos (which are beautiful)


  2. "Life is always there to throw you curveballs, and sometimes those curveballs are more like bowling balls to the stomach and it isn't fair."

    SO WELL SAID. I truly am sorry for your loss, girl, and I understand.

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE the tattoo! i'm so sorry to hear about this.. looks like a really really great friendship!



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