I want to share something with everybody. Friday, November 18th, 2011 started like any other day for me. There was nothing particularly special about my morning and early afternoon. I remember that I drove to work alone because my fiancé rode to work with her mother early that day. They were cleaning and setting up for the in house meet we were going to have the next morning. I had grabbed Red Bull and had my music blaring in the car. Work was normal on this day, except I had my two level nines come in because they had missed a day earlier in the week. All the gymnasts did pretty well and I did a private with a little one afterwards.
We got in the car and headed back home. My fiancé and I got sushi, which we both love and don’t eat very often. When we got home our favorite show, Fringe, was on the television. I posted to Facebook, “Sushi, Fringe, my warm house, and my beautiful fiancé. Content.” The day was a good day. I love Red Bull and I love blaring my music in the car as well. I was completely happy and content with my life. I had everything I could ask for in life.
I got a text message a little bit later in the night. It said, “Did you hear about Andrea?” I replied that I had not and I asked what happened. A few minutes later I received a call. The voice on the phone said. “Andrea was in an accident… … She didn’t make it.” I will never forget this moment in my life. I will never forget my thoughts, my feelings, or any detail of this exactly moment in time. It is burned so brightly into my mind that there is no way I could ever forget it. The sniffles that I heard on the line, the long pause in between the two sentences, the look on my fiancé’s face, and the reaction I witnessed are all so vivid.
I turned to Facebook, like I usually do. A quick note on this before I continue with my story. I watched a video about social networking sites that changed my perspective on them. What happens to your Facebook or Twitter when you are dead? What will it reflect? I have come to view these as kind of the story of my life and not just a way to keep up on gossip. This, sadly, has been proven by the Facebook page of Andrea Bailes. Back on track, my next post read, “I feel like I am going to puke. This is something I never wanted to experience in my career as a coach. I am numb. I can’t believe this happened to one of the most amazing girls I have had the pleasure of knowing.”
The point of this story is perspective. Friday, November 18th, 2011 was a wonderful day and I was so happy with where my life was and where it seemed to be heading. In the blink of an eye my entire life changed, as did the lives of many others. I will never be the same. In the past four weeks I have learned more about life than in almost twenty-five years of life.
I have done the most difficult things in the past four weeks that I have ever done in my life. I have had to tell little children their friend was dead. I spent about four hours typing up the post about Andrea, which was much more difficult than anything I have ever done. I had to carry her casket. Most recently I had to coach a level seven session without her. All of this has changed me, especially as a coach.
Life is fragile, precious, and short. In an instant your whole world can be flipped upside down. Count your blessings and make the best of everything that you do.