On January 17, 2004 I got a phone call that would change my life forever. I had just gotten back to my parents’ place after a trip to Walmart with my sister where we had picked up some Valentine’s Day goodies for our fellas, and the board game Clue. We immediately cracked open our new (old) game, and headed up to my bedroom to settle in for an epic battle between Mr. Green, Professor Plum and Mrs. White (all the usual suspects). It was then that my phone rang. On the other end, all I could make out at first were guttural sounds, what sounded like an animal, or maybe…was it a human? It was, it was my fiance (at the time) calling to give me the most devastating news I would ever receive by telephone. Two of my friends had just been killed in a car accident.

I remember trying to breath, I remember staring at my sister and hyperventilating while I tried to regurgitate the most horrible words I had ever heard. I remember her starting to panic because I couldn’t get the words out and she didn’t know what was wrong. I remember her screaming for my parents to come help…I remember so much of that night, so vividly, it’s crazy. I still remember it with more clarity than I can remember what I wore yesterday – seriously. It’s amazing how our brains can hold onto the memory of trauma and at the same time, erase the memory of the pain that accompanies it. I suppose it’s how we protect ourselves from remembering just how very painful it is to have your heart ripped out of your body.

We never know what our tomorrow will look like. We all woke up that morning with very few cares in the world, and could never have guessed what the next 24 hours would bring. My friends left band practice that evening to head home for a rest (we had thrown a HUGE birthday party for one of them and my fiance just the night before), and we had plans to head out to a movie together later that night. Then there was an accident, a horrible, tragic accident, one that could happen to anyone at anytime. And with it, everything changed forever.

I write this post today to honour my friends who lost their lives thirteen years ago, at the tender age of 24. I also write it to remind myself how important it is to wake up each day and live life to the very fullest. To have fun, to love hard, to make mistakes, to go on adventures, to say what you’re thinking, to try something new, to get mad, to be sad, to do anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do, because there will always be someone who has lost their chance to do those very things. The friends I lost were amazing. They LIVED. They LOVED. They were awesome guys, and I still miss them terribly. But as someone who is still here, still blessed with the opportunity to live a BIG life, I owe it to them to make sure I do just that – LIVE BIG. So much love and thanks to my favourite guardian angels – hope you are enjoying the big party in the sky <3 XO