Last Friday was suppose to be a normal Friday. Last weekend was suppose to be a normal weekend. The world wasn’t suppose to come crashing down around us.
But it did.
The foundations of our community were rocked when the bus carrying 16 members of the ACU family crashed. We waited anxiously for news about our friends. Students, faculty, staff and the Abilene community gathered together to wait for more information. As the story spread, people around the country began to pray for those affected by the crash.
Shortly after 7 p.m. Friday night I learned the name of the student killed in the accident. It was the last name I wanted to hear. It was the name of my best friend.
I met Anabel Reid shortly after we began our freshman year. We quickly became good friends. Her sweet, passionate personality made her stand out from other people. I admired the fact that she was never afraid to be herself. She was the kind of girl who could wear pink high heels one day and come to dinner the next day talking of her adventures driving the tractor at work.
Anabel was always the first person I went to if I had trouble with my car. She had a solution to every problem. She was so easy to talk to, she would get into conversations with total strangers. She was the best friend anyone could have.
Anabel and I were constantly coming up with ideas of things we wanted to do someday, like go stargazing, stay with each others families, go skiing, visit Africa… the list goes on. A few of our ideas might have gotten us in trouble, but it would have been worth it. Now we’ll never get to do those things.
However, I know Anabel wouldn’t want me to dwell on the things we never got to do. Instead, she would want me to remember all the times when we laughed until our sides hurt. There were the numerous trips to Nikki’s, Saturday lunches at Sharky’s and dinners in the Bean at our usual table when we would laugh with our friends while others gave us weird looks.
There was the time it snowed and we built a blanket fort and watched Nacho Libre. We turned thrift store shopping into an art form. I’ll never forget last Valentine’s day when Anabel and our best friends, Rachel and Abigail, brought me flowers and sang a Justin Beiber song to me (even though they knew I despised him at the time). I look back on those memories and have no choice but to smile.
Anabel died doing the one thing she loved doing best: helping others. Her dream was to work with organizations that bring clean water to areas of the world that have none. Even though her death was unexpected, Anabel helped to bring the community together in ways I never imagined. Though the foundations of our ACU community were rocked, I believe they are now stronger than ever thanks to Anabel. Not only did she touch my life, she has touched the lives of thousands of others.
There is no way to explain how much Anabel and her friendship meant to me. As someone who strives to be a reporter one day, I have never been part of a news story until now. I was suppose to be reporting from Hendrick when I learned about Anabel’s death. Now that I know how it feels to be on the “other side” of the news, going back to work is going to be so hard. But Anabel always knew how much I loved working on the Optimist and she always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Now, whenever I feel my motivation failing, I will remember Anabel’s encouragement and strength.
I love you, Anabel. I will never, ever, ever forget you.