Two years ago today, many lives changed forever. I'm not trying to be one to keep reliving really heartbreaking memories, but this was something that changed my life forever and I haven't shared my feelings on this with many people.
This was the summer that Sophie and I started getting closer. Our ward had youth conference just a few weeks prior and Sophie and I were put in the same group for activities. We really started to hit it off and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her. She really cracked me up and I thought she was so much fun. I will never forget those days and nights and youth conference and the feeling that was there. I felt our ward bonding. There was a very sweet feeling there and I could feel it. I thought Preston Idaho was a little piece of heaven on earth, but maybe it was just our ward that was creating that. I will never forget Sophie's testimony. She spoke of her personal relationship with her Savior, her desire to bring her grandpa back in the church. I sat next to her through that meeting and there was such a strong spirit there. I would have never imagined that she would soon leave us.
I wasn't too thrilled about going to Girls Camp. I had already graduated High School and thought I was too old to be going...BUT I was asked to be a Youth Counselor so I obliged. I was chosen to be Dorothy and I was wearing a little Dorothy costume all day. The camp theme was, "There's no Place Like Home"
I remember that day so vividly. Getting crazy car sick on the bus ride up, sneaking two sandwiches at lunch for Sophie, Calee and I, Sophie wearing all white and asking her why she chose such apparel, Sophie showing me a few packs of gum that her mom left on her bunk, talking about Sophie's boyfriend, Canoeing in the lake and singing some joke song that Caroline had and Amanda repeatedly saying, "I love Sophie, she is just so fun." (no joke, it got to the point where I was sick of hearing about it.) I remember looking down at Sophie's fingernails and seeing the bubblegum pink nail polish and having a distinct thought of how beautiful our bodies are (I admire hands quite frequently).
After Sophie had collapsed, I thought everything was fine. I was selfish and sad for myself that she would no longer be at camp with us. But I will never forget when our Ward was going around and sharing our thoughts on our camp themes an I looked around at leaders and saw seriously worried, sad, anxious expressions. After we were done talking about camp, I was heading in to my cabin when I noticed there was some commotion going on behind me. I will never forget turning around and Janie Egan looking at me in the face with a heartbroken, worried face and saying, "Sophie's dead." Just writing those words brings back such vivid memories and feelings. I was stunned. I had never experienced such surreal emotions. I stopped dead in my tracks and it took me a minute to process what I heard and start bawling. Everyone was hugging, crying, uniting. We met as a Stake to talk about what had just happened and it was rumored that President Bourne was on his way. I was at the Pavilion alone and rounded a corner and there was President in his suit. I will never forget the relief and peace that came over me as I saw a Priesthood holder there dressed in his Suit, ready to give relief. We embraced and I will never forget that fatherly affection and relief that I felt with him. I love the man.
There is so much to say. So many feelings and thoughts that I could share. This experience has increased my gratitude for my body and the sacredness of it. I know that after we die, we will long to have these bodies and each day I am amazed at what my body can accomplish and feel. I have an added amount of love towards my ward family that is hard to explain. I feel so blessed to have known this sweet girl and I am so grateful that I know I will be able to see her again and all those who I love and who will pass on before me. Life is fragile and there are no guarantees. I am trying not to take as much for granted and to live in the moment. As Sophie would say, "feel the fear and do it anyway."
My parents are at girls camp today and the girls in our ward will be singing one of Sophie's songs, "Shine on". I long to be there for that. I know it will be sweet. I am happy that they haven't and won't forget.