I remembered opening the door and seeing her bright smiling face, telling me that Jana wasn’t there.
It was by chance that I became friends with these girls. They had become friends the previous year and I began hanging out with them because my roommate knew them.
Sophie. Jana. Liesel. Rachel. Daphne. Erika.
We used to watch The Bachelor together to avoid doing homework. I couldn’t wait to figure out who Jake had picked so I googled about the show. I remember one episode in particular, we were crowded around Jana’s computer and Daphne was on her bed jumping up and down and making noise because she didn’t like Vienna.
There was a feeling of acceptance being around Daphne. I didn’t realize it until cancer took her from us and she was gone.
The last time I saw her, she came to our apartment because her and Jana, my roommate at the time, were going out to lunch. She was wearing a blue jacket and a hat to keep her head warm, as she had shaved her head earlier in the year because was going through treatment. We met up later in the Student Center at Southern and talked about where we saw ourselves in the future. She was talking passionately about how when she beats cancer, her and Erik were going to open up a gym where they could train girls in gymnastics. She was a beautiful and talented gymnast but had to put that on hold until she could get strong again. She had dreams and they were beautiful.
Before the new year began, I decided I was going to take every day and pray for a different friend, so I sent out a mass text to all my friends and asked if they wanted me to pray for them. Daphne was the first one to respond. I marked her down on my calendar for every 25th of the month. And 20 days later she was gone.
We share the same favorite color. Yellow. I love to wear it because it reminds me of the sun. Warmth. It gives me a reason to smile. And now, it reminds me of Daphne.
For a long time, it hurt to wear the color because it reminded me of her and it was painful. It hurt to see what everyone else was feeling. Although those feelings still exist sometimes, I’m at peace. When Jana was out in California spending those last moments with Daphne, she told me that Daphne was at peace with her ending. I just cried. WHY? HOW?
And though to this day, I have some peace, I still don’t understand it all. Death. Life.
But I know she lived her life to the fullest. She was a stubborn little thing that wasn’t afraid to tell you like it is, yet full of compassion. What gives me resolve, what gives me peace is knowing how many lives she touched by just living.
That’s what life is about. Living fully alive.
Today, it’s hard to focus while I’m at work because I’m thinking about her all the time. As I type these words, I get distracted from the yellow heart I painted on one of my nails, however, there has been a peace around me today.
I miss you. A year ago today, you said goodbye. Now you’re resting. Thank you for loving life and loving others. Thank you for your faith in God. Your spirit still fills rooms. Your memory is forever etched on so many heart, including mine. I will never forget you. Your love and your life is unforgettable. I can’t wait to laugh with you again one day.