14 years

Last December I wrote this post about Gina Naclerio, a girl I went to high school with who was killed in a drunk driving accident.

Today, November 3, marks the 14th anniversary of her passing. I don’t usually rob from the comments section of this blog, but I’m making an exception. I received the following post from one of Gina’s friends:

My name is Alyson, and am proud to have been Gina’s friend. It is 14 years today that we lost a beautiful, fun and amazing girl who made people happy just by being in the room. I think about Gina today, and many other days when I think of what she has missed, and what we all have missed without her with us anymore. Her death was senseless and unfair, but her life was amazing and I remain grateful that I was able to be a part of it. Thank you for remembering her and for speaking out against drunk driving … I hope it makes people think.

I don’t subscribe to people who try and find meaning in a young person’s death. Personally, I don’t think there is a meaning. I refuse to believe it was “God’s plan” or “her time” or any of that nonsense. An existence was extinguished because someone drank too much, then decided to drive. It was inexplicable, and to try and reduce it to reason is intellectually insulting.

That being said, we, as people, can transform tragedy into meaning. What do I think when Gina pops into my head? I think to hug my children. I think to cherish time. I think to embrace the smallest of things—my daughter kissing me on the cheek; my son running around naked in his room, singing about Batman; my wife sitting across from me, sipping a coffee. We only get one shot at this, and it can end at any time. Literally, any time.

So please honor Gina today by living your life fully, and with vigor and passion.