This I Believe

Haley - Sebastopol, California
Entered on December 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I Believe Essay

My Angels

R.I.P Troy Steinocher, Alicia Coleman, Justin “Peanut” Lyon, Jamie White, Kevin Alvestal, Joe Powell, Kirby Hardy and all my other friends that have passed to the other side.

I have never been a very religious person. I grew up in a small town where everyone really just marches to the beat of their own drum. Both of my parents were raised under the word of God and they resent their parents for forcing it upon them. So, they wished for my sister’s and I that we would believe in what we wanted and not let anyone else try and tell us different. I have spent most of my seventeen years of life believing in no higher power and in no paranormal activity. It all seemed very unrealistic to me, so I chose to believe in nothing.

In June of 2005 however, that all changed when a speeding 1992 Honda Accord carrying four of my friends hit a tree on Sanford and Hall road in my hometown. Two died and two survived but with serious injuries. Then like a round of bullets being fired one right after another, it happened again and again and again. Between June 2005 and September 2007, I have lost fifteen great people who each touched my life in ways that I cannot explain. They were all unique coming into this world, living it and leaving it.

Every one of my friends that have died has made the largest impact on the choices that I make in my life today. The ways I think, act and treat people around me are the direct result of having lost them. Alicia was a Hawaiian Angel that was the most beautiful, loving and exotic person I have ever met. Peanut lived life to the fullest and stopped at nothing to make people happy. Jamie was a funny, loving guy who excelled at everything he did, in particular, racing his dirt bike. Kevin was my concrete cowboy. He loved flying airplanes, sky diving and his Toyota. Joe had these mysterious eyes and smile that were captivating. He too, loved his Toyota. Kirby’s tragic passing had more of an impact on me than anyone else did because he was a miracle. Both his legs were crushed in the crash of 2005 and it was thought that it would take a very long time, if ever, for him to walk again. But just months after his first accident, Kirby got up out of his wheel chair and took his first wobbly steps with titanium rods in his legs. He died two years after his first accident, when his truck went over a cliff in Bodega Bay on July 25th, 2007.

I swear I “see” these people every day of my life. I can see Alicia and Kirby hanging out at Buffalo Billiards, shooting pool, hanging out-just because there wasn’t anything else better to do on a Friday night. I can see Peanut flirting with every girl, flashing that gorgeous smile, just because he wants them to smile back. Jamie, riding his dirt bike at C.C. Camp, Stoneyford, taking first place in his class. I see Joe and Kevin in every single lifted Toyota that drives by.

I learned from them not to waste a single minute of this one precious life. I have learned to love, respect and cherish the relationships that I have with people because I know well after fifteen deaths, that life can change within the blink of an eye. One day you are hanging out with friends and the next, you are getting a call at 3:30 in the morning and you hear the person on the other end whisper, “It happened again.” And then you find yourself in that angry, helpless, melancholy state of mind where all you are wondering is “why?”

They are the angels of my life and I truly believe that they were put on this Earth to teach my friends and I to be there for one another always and forever. I believe that they were taken away from me to enforce what they taught unconsciously about life and love. I believe that whenever I think that I see them, that I truly am in fact seeing them as angels walking the Earth to remind me just little things that could ultimately save my life or someone else’s like, “Hey, wear your seatbelt,” or “Hey, why not be designated driver tonight?” It is the little things like that and the stories left behind by these great people that let me know that just by thinking before acting can save a lot of heartache. They are my angles and I thank God everyday for allowing me to have known these people.