Today marks three weeks since we landed in Raleigh. A lot has happened since then, and we’re adjusting pretty well to our new lives here; sometimes it even feels like I never left. But Raleigh’s changed a lot since I was a kid and it’s fun getting to experience the new things it has on offer as well as the more adult things I never got to do, like go to the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in Cary.

For the first time in I don’t know how long, I was able to celebrate with my mom on her birthday. It was so nice to be with my family and I’m looking forward to being together through many more days of significance (especially Thanksgiving and Christmas!).

That being said, it has not been all joyful celebrations this week. On Monday I received word that a friend  I’ve known since I was a child passed away early Sunday morning in a car accident. She would have been 25 at the end of August.

I know it is seen as an especially significant loss when someone is so young, and Betsy is no exception. We hadn’t kept up much after high school, but remained friends on Facebook and I would view her profile from time to time. It looked to me like she had found her place in college, with good friends and an ‘artsy’ vibe that fit her so well.  I enjoyed looking through pictures of her older sister’s wedding last month, and seeing how beautiful they’ve both become and continued to have that special bond they’ve always shared.

Although we hadn’t spoken in years, the news of her death hit me like a punch to the gut. Disbelief, followed by a rush of confused sadness washed over me and my mom as we sat in the sun and the world grew darker. One of the kindest and gentlest people I’ve ever known was gone. It still feels weird as I sit here and write. The visitation is tonight, and a memorial service will be at our church tomorrow.

I spent the afternoon the other day looking through childhood pictures. Happy girls, no older than three or four, smiling into the camera, arms wrapped around each other. Sometimes {often, as I’ve found}  you lose that closeness as you get older, but you’ve spent so much time together in those formative years, the relationship leaves its mark on you.

While the initial shock has worn off, it still seems unreal that Betsy’s gone. I don’t grieve so much for myself, but for her family and our community at having lost such a sweet soul. If you’re the praying kind, please keep her family in your prayers. I hope they do find peace eventually; it’s certainly what Betsy would have wanted. And as for her, I’m sure she’s living the High Life now. Forever young, Betsy, you won’t be forgotten.