Fairport, NY

9:16 AM

It is rare when something on CNN.com comes from your backyard. And in most cases, it’s probably not a good thing when it does. If you were to go there right now, you’d have to get past the joke that is Paris Hilton and find the headline that is making my stomach churn as I type this: Cheerleaders killed in fiery head-on crash.

On Tuesday night nine girlfriends who had just graduated high school left their homes and drove to a cottage for some summer fun the next day. Five of the girls didn’t make it. Four of the girls had to watch the horrible car crash unfold in front of their eyes.

When I woke up this morning I went downstairs and looked at the paper. The faces of the Fairport Five stared up at me from the ink. I am not sure why this is resonating so strongly. There are people in the paper who die every day, some before their time. It may be that I lost one of my best friends from high school one week into my first semester of college. I think that has a lot to do with it. I know the pain their friends are feeling. I know the questions they are asking that have no answers. I know the grief that they will be going through.

And there isn’t much to say about it other than it truly sucks. It sucks when life is cut short. It sucks when you are supposed to be getting ready to move on to the next stage of life and something like this happens. You try and internalize it and say, “Why?” And, “What if I had done this…”

I can only imagine what their families must be feeling. There will be of course grief and loss, but also anger and frustration. After many battles, the thing that got me through the loss was not pushing the pain down, it was letting it out. It was remembering them to the fullest. And living a life they would be proud of.

In the end, the biggest thing to learn from this is that life is fragile. I know we all feel invincible, but life is so delicate. And that means we should live it that way. To the fullest. We shouldn’t hate. We should get over our friend or family member slighting us and try and make peace. We should forgive. We should see the good in ourselves and others. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should tell our loved ones that they are our loved ones. We should live our lives like it is a gift to enjoy. And we should live a life we are proud of…

Peace to the girls. Healing for the families and friends.