Today I am in Maryland for tomorrow’s funeral service for Annalee Marshall. She was in a car accident on Christmas Day and died two days later without regaining conciousness. She was 20 years old.
In addition to living on in the hearts and memories of her many friends and family members, her passing has given new life to four other people through organ donation.
I can think of nothing to say to Annalee’s family that would be of any comfort. “I’m so sorry” doesn’t come close to expressing the depth of my sorrow or the sense of tragic loss they must be feeling. But I do have words for my other friends:
–Drive safely at all times. This means no drinking and driving, no texting or talking on the phone, no speeding, etc. Also, always wear your seatbelt.
–Become an organ donor, and tell your family that’s what you want. That Monty Python skit was just a joke, really!
–Spend the time you have in meaningful ways. Donate or volunteer for causes that are important to you. Annalee was active with two groups at Virginia Tech, where she was studying to become a veterinarian. Help Save the Next Girl is an organization that works to prevent violence against women, particularly on college campuses. To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is dedicated finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicidal thoughts.
–Make the time to stay connected to the people in your life. Really, time is the most valuable thing we have to share.
–Hold your loved ones close. We never know how much time we have left.