~~~~ In Memory of Kelly Freeman ~~~ written by Amy Bierman When I think about Kelly Freeman, my mind travels back to the good 'ole days of Springdale Elementary School. Tammy Williams, Kelly Freeman and I were all best buds. We would stay over at each other's houses, watch movies, play games, chase boys, and eat candy and ice cream, the normal things kids did those days. When I heard of Kelly's cancer last year, I thought it was a very unfunny joke. It couldn't be true. Not one of my friends I went to school with since I was in the first grade. There was no way it was true. At that time, I was in the same amount of shock I went through this morning. But then I realized it was no joke. Then, the news just got worse from there on. Truthfully, I tried to prepare myself for this, but you don't know the amount of sorrow that overcomes your happiness when a close person to you passes on. Kelly was the most caring person I knew. And on top of that, the strongest person I knew. That girl could pull through anything, be it a basketball injury or a hard early childhood. Up until today, I was positive she would fight this battle. I was counting on seeing my girl at homecoming, as well as at the Shoemaker Center on June 2, 2000. There was no doubt in my mind that she wouldn't be there. When I walked into school today and saw a bunch of my classmates in tears, I knew something was going on that I wasn't aware of. I walked up to my best friend from first grade on and asked what was all the drama about. That's when I found out. At first, I felt nothing but total shock. I hadn't cried until we got to the senior class meeting, when all of Kelly's friends spoke their minds about what they were feeling and thinking about this great loss. The whole time I was thinking to myself, "Amy, go up there and say a few words to let Kelly know that we all miss her." Then I thought, "She knows we all miss her. All she wants us to do now is re-evaluate ourselves. Don't take life for granted. Enjoy every minute, and at the same time, get set and accomplish as many goals as possible." Everyone says that now she's in a better place, but the truth is the only place I want her to be is here, with all of her friends and family. As selfish as that may sound, that's what I'm wishing for right now. Letting go is the hardest part. Now I just have to look forward to seeing her when the good Lord says, "It's time for me to go." I hope she is happy where she is right now and someone's taking care of her and watching over her. Kelly's beautiful smile will always remain in my heart. I will always remember her and I walking up to Ameristop and blowing one hundred dollars of her child support money she got every month from her Grandma, Kelly's mentor. We bough everything from pens to hats to tee shirts to water bottles. We thought we had just won the lottery or something. Back then there was nothing else that we needed to buy. Plus, we didn't have a car to go anywhere. All of these memories seem like they just happened yesterday. I wish it were yesterday, when all this mess was impossible. It still hasn't fully hit me that she's no longer with us. Another elementary friend of ours, Verna Coleman, spoke before our class today. She said that at first she felt guilty she never went and visited Kelly at the hospital. But then she made a good point. She doesn't want to remember Kelly that way becauseeveryone that did go visit her said she isn't even the same person. Real skinny, no hair, but sure enough one thing never changed… her warm heart. I was feeling the same as Verna at first, and after she said hat, it made me feel a little better. I'd rather emember the happy times I got to share with Kelly. She was in Ms. Maupin's class with me as well as Ms.Moore's class, back in elementary school when we didn't understand the concept of death. Some of us still don't fully grasp the meaning of death because we've never dealt with the death of a loved one. Now, no matter if you understand or not, you have to be as strong as possible and pull through this because Kelly would want you to. As the old but wise saying goes, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Another saying that applies to this situation is "Everything happens for a reason." I am a firm believer of this saying. Now we'll never know why this happened to Kelly so young, or at all for that matter, but now all we can do is keep her in our prayers. She's every one of our guardian angels now. Thank her, love her, and talk to her. She is still with us in spirit. This may have not been one of the most successful battles with cancer, but his sure hit home for a lot of people. It has taught each and every one us a valuable lesson whether it be don't take life for granted, love everybody, or accomplish your goals, etc. Kelly, you will always be in my heart. I will miss you forever. I still wish you were here with us, but as long as you're in a better place, I'm happy too. I'm sorry we won't see you at Homecoming or graduation, but we hope you're there in spirit. I want to congratulate you on all your achievements, and I want to thank you for all your love you've given me. I wish I were as strong of a person as you were, but I guess that's what makes us all different from each other. In the words of Bone, "I'll see you at the Crossroads."