Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For Cassidy

Life is fragile. 

A newborn baby's innocence. The trickling of clean water in a stream. Woodland animals caring for their young. We all know this, and yet we live our days filled to the brim with no time to step back and contemplate that truth. That beauty. We all do it. It's life. It's the world we live in. Or is it? 

For one of my close neighboring towns that question has come full circle. It has reached its tentacles, crossing my community's borders as well. This article is one I wish I didn't need to write.

On Saturday evening, people gathered at a farm about an hour from my home to enjoy pumpkins, corn mazes, and haunted hayrides. The farm is well known for ringing in the Halloween season with flair, so it attracts many and a lot of those are teenagers. It's a tradition unique to the fall season. No one would ever equate such innocent family fun with tragedy. But that's what happened. An amazing girl lost her life, when the Jeep hauling the trailer for the haunted hayride lost control and crashed. Her boyfriend was severely injured also, and many others suffered injuries as well.

Cassidy (in colorful headband) with
her CMU (Central Maine United)
premier soccer team.
Cassidy is a teammate on my daughter's premier soccer team. (I simply can't write was, because she's still here through words like this and the hearts of so many.) Along with other girls from surrounding towns, they've played soccer together for years, sharing victories and defeats and the all-important sleepovers. We consider her family our friends, spending weekend tournaments with the team or gatherings at their home. Her smile and soft wit will be missed beyond the words I could ever write here. A bright soul taken before her time. At the top of her high school class, she had more potential than most. Her community and neighboring communities are devastated. 

Her life touched many, from her high school soccer team, the premier soccer team, elementary school classmates at a Catholic school, older classmates, friends, and her beloved family. For the most part, when someone passes people share positives from their life. Sometimes you wonder if the person was really that good. In Cassidy's case, it is all true. Her infectious smile and laugh lit up a room and made you feel better. The gentleness in her face welcomed you. She possessed a humbleness that only comes from Grace beyond any of us, and she shared it willingly. Knowing her affirms there is goodness in this world.  

She gained that goodness from an incredible mother, father, and younger brother. They are some of the most genuine people I have ever known. Her mother has taken my family photos for years, always taking such care over my four children. As I write this all I can think is This can't be happening. 

It was early Sunday morning when I received the text of the accident. Initially, shock was felt - a dull, numb sensation of disbelief. But as that wears off and reality sets in, the gravity of loss plummets to a full arsenal of emotions. Making sense of this is the first reaction. It's what we do in our human skin. But pursuing that is a losing battle. As a close friend shared with my daughter, "This will never get better. It will only get different." 

People are coming together through candlelight vigils and posting the above imagine in support and honor of Cass. Some are organizing fundraisers to aid her family with expenses, but also for the family of her boyfriend, who is in a Boston hospital with sever injuries. Cassidy's teammates from all her teams are honoring her from wearing blue ribbons and their jerseys to painting blue hearts with her number on their faces. Our boy's soccer team wrapped a single stripe of blue tape on their arms to honor her during yesterday's game. This will be a long road of grief and questioning for many. I ask for your positive thoughts and prayers for the family. 

We attended a vigil for her last night outside her Catholic elementary school. As tough as it was it was as beautiful. The tears, the laughs, the memories, and the heartfelt longing for her needed to be shared. Former teachers, friends, teammates, and even people who didn't know her attended. A gentlemen approached my husband and asked if we knew her. He revealed that he did not know her or the family, but just had to attend in support. His heart was genuine and heavy. 

After, Cassidy's CMU soccer team gathered at a coach's house. They talked, tried to eat a little ice cream, and cried. Eventually, laughter sprung up as they embraced cherished memories they'd shared with Cass. They questioned why. Before they left, the coach had them sign a special table. The last signature was for Cassidy ~ a big heart with her CMU #4 filling it up.

The outpouring of compassion testifies of Cassidy's wholesome influence in this world, and that we have the same responsibility to affect others in affirming ways. The manner in which she lived each day has made a difference. Her inspiration will inspire positive effects in many. Her life threaded numerous lives, and last night she brought us together. Though she is not physically here any longer to spread her light, others have vowed to do that for her. You and I need to do the same.

There's nothing I can do for her parents but offer a shoulder to help shelf their grief. It's not enough, but it's all I have. It's all any of us has at a time like this. But we can also take a moment to respect life in its frailness, cherish what we still have, and never lose sight of a beautiful life that added such hope to the world ~ Cassidy's legacy. 
 
 photo Sheri2.png

24 comments:

  1. So sad, especially a life lost so soon. Your post is a beautiful tribute.

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  2. This is so sad. It's awful when tragedies like this happen, especially to someone so young.

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  3. Oh my gosh! This is terrible! I am praying for her family, friends, and teammates. This reminded me of a girl I knew when I was a teen...her name was Kassidy. She was a cheerleader, and she died when she was 17 in an ATV accident. Her boyfriend and two others died, too.

    RIP Cassidy and Kassidy.

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    1. Oh gosh. That's horrible, Chrys! It never gets easier, either. The memories and missing memories ... Thanks so much for stopping by and for offering up prayers. We attended a Celebration of Life for Cass, yesterday. It was absolutely amazing. Her boyfriend, the one seriously injured, was allowed to leave the Boston Hospital to attend. He stood up and spoke - the best he could with a broken jaw. It was gut-wrenching, yet beautiful to watch the courage and strength. And then, Monica and Randy - Cass's parents - spoke at the end. Holy tears... Monica was amazingly strong, sharing her feelings of comfort this day gave to her. I can't tell you the respect I have for Monica and Randy as people, as parents, and as friends. My heart just breaks for them.

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  4. I remember seeing this on msn. Crazy how small the world can become. Way to soon for such a great young person. Really sorry to hear of your loss. Just keep focusing on the good times and remember she'll always be with you if you do so. Praying for you guys. Matt @ JC's Book Haven.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Matt. Your visit mean a lot.

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  5. I am sorry, Sheri. There are no words for such an unlucky, random accident taking a young life and devastating a family and community.

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    1. You're right. It's so difficult and hard not to ask why. Cassidy was truly an amazing person who could have contributed positively to the world in a million more ways. My mother-in-law told me that, when tragedies like these happened, she believes that God honestly needed them to work from a more important place. Just sucks she has to be taken from here.

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  6. I'm so terribly sorry! Death is always unwelcome, but when an accident takes someone young and full of promise it feels especially tragic and unfair!

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  7. These times are definitely hard, but I'm always amazed by how communities come together to support and love those who need it. People are amazing, aren't they?

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    1. Yes they are. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts, Crystal.

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  8. That is so terrible. Such a freak accident. Prayers for everyone who knew her, and for the young man still in the hospital.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. The urge to question and search for reasons is so strong during times like these. Knowing that people are thinking and praying for the family helps.

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  9. "This will never get better. It will only get different." ... so glad you shared this. It's heart breaking, but I love that you've contributed this piece in memory of her.

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    1. Thank you, Margo. This means a lot. ((hugs))

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  10. What a horrible thing to have happen. I'm so sorry for her family and everyone affected.

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  11. The horrible accident made the news even out here on the west coast. I'm so sorry to hear that it has touched your life so directly. Many, many prayers for Cass, her family, and all of you who are dealing with her loss, and for her boyfriend who has to grieve while he tries to heal.

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  12. Oh, Sheri, my heart aches for all of you, and certainly for Cass with her life cut too short. Prayer, sincere belief (faith) and support from others (like you) is the only thing that can help carry anyone through something like this. I don't think the heart can ever completely mend, but life will go on and she will be kept alive through others ((hugs))

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  13. I'm sorry for your loss, and especially because of the age, it must hit very close to home. Wishing you and yours strength and wisdom.

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    1. Aw ... your words and thoughts mean a lot, Laura. Thank you.

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  14. So sad. Such a loss. Thoughts and prayers for all who knew her. Hugs.

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    1. I truly appreciate you stopping by to read. Thank you. Knowing that people have the family in their thoughts and prayers helps.

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