From Tragedy to Turning Point

Two years ago, my friends and I experienced a life event that no one should ever have to go through. When we lost Olivia that cold February morning, we were shaken to the very core. We absolutely could not understand why someone so sweet, genuine, kind, and gentle should have to leave this life in such an awful manner. The next few days, weeks, and months were rough. We relied on each other, God’s Word, mentors, hymns, and other sources of encouragement to get us through what turned out to be quite the rough semester. But when I think about that awful day, something else comes to mind…something that changed my life forever.

When I got to Jennings Hall upon learning about Olivia, I was making my way into the building. Across the parking lot, I saw Rebecca Leet. Without prompting, we both ran towards each other and embraced. We were both experiencing immense pain and needed someone in that moment. Thank God that we had each other. We just stood there in the parking lot, crying and being there for one another when we needed it most. We both agree that it was in that moment that our relationship changed.

In the days that followed, Rebecca and I began to grow closer as friends. We spent a lot of time together. Recitals, concerts, improv shows…I even bought and brought back lunch for her a few times when I would go off-campus to get food. These weren’t dates or favors with strings attached. We just enjoyed time together as friends. And the old saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” rang true during the summer when she was in Texas. I missed her a LOT. We began dating in the fall of that year and the rest is [brief] history.

So, while I still grieve the loss of my dear friend, I rejoice knowing that God had a mighty plan in all of it. I don’t say that Olivia died so we could be together. But I do say that Olivia’s death brought out those raw, unfiltered emotions that really show who someone is. Rebecca saw it in me and I in her. That is what really drew us to one another. For this reason, we have decided that should God bless us with a daughter one day, we will name her after Olivia, because it was Olivia who brought us together.

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