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An Open Letter to the Class of 2014

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Dear Class of 2014,

First and foremost, I hope you all are enjoying life. I hope you all have made lasting impressions during your first couple of years outside of high school. It has been two years since we were all gathered together on Dave Goodwin Field celebrating all of our hard work and accomplishments. While it doesn't really seem like it has been that long, it really has. I hope you all are still chasing your dreams and your purpose in this life. Knowing you all, I know that what you are doing is nothing short of that. It is crazy to think about how much time has passed and how long we have gone without each other.

Second, I miss you all so much. I miss making memories with you. I miss reminding each other of how we were all going to be life-long friends and not let life or distance separate us. I am sorry that I haven't been the greatest at keeping in touch over the last couple of years. I know we all have things going on in our lives, and I know that we are all busy paving the road for our future, but that isn't an excuse. I will always miss you all and I will always thank you for making high school more bearable and for helping me in creating beautiful memories that I will never be able to forget.

Third, thank you. Thank you for showing me what true friendship is. We recently lost a classmate to an awful tragedy. We are heartbroken, speechless, in denial, and feeling a hurt that we have never felt before. McKenzie was our classmate, and I think we can all agree that she had the most contagious smile out of our whole class. Thank you for allowing me to pull you all a little closer during this time of grief. You have all played an important role in allowing me to heal and come to acceptance with things that I cannot change. I know that without you all, getting to where I am now would have been nearly impossible. Thank you for being someone to confide in, a shoulder to cry on, and the greatest support system.

Lastly, we will heal. Losing someone in your life is never an easy thing. The thing about death is that it is never pretty. It doesn't come in a tightly wrapped box with a pretty pink bow on top. It doesn't come with a manual including instructions showing us how to grieve the loss of our loved one. Death leaves holes in our hearts that cannot be fixed by a doctor. You can't slap a bandaid on it and wait for it to heal. But, you can fill those holes with memories, good times, and experiences. Class of 2014, we will heal. We will remember the good things and cherish the moments we had with McKenzie. We will fill our holes with the beautiful memories, her contagious smile, and the good times we had with her on this earth. We grew up together, so we are going to grow through this together. We will fill the holes in our heart together and we are going to heal together. Together.

McKenzie,

On behalf of our class, I want you to know that we will think of you everyday. I want you to know that we will miss you more than anything and we would all give anything just to have one more conversation, laugh, or memory with you. I wish that we had more time to make memories with you and more time to get to know you. You were one of the happiest people, and when you smiled it was so radiant and contagious. You had the greatest personality and one of the biggest hearts. You were selfless, caring, supportive, the greatest listener, the best at giving advice, and carefully honest. We want you to know that we will always remember your smile, your laughs, the memories that we have created with you, and the beautiful person you were. While we are struggling to understand why you were taken from us so soon, we know you are at peace and already know things that we do not. We promise to make sure that you live through all of us here on earth, and we know that you will have a place saved for each of us. Until we meet again face-to-face, McKenzie, rest in paradise.

Your classmate, confidant and friend,

MeKenzie Sloan

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