Most of us will spend our entire lives attempting to accomplish some sort of deed or deeds that will have people talking about us long after our time on Earth here is complete.
We want to leave a lasting legacy that allows us to extend our time here on planet Earth, even if we can’t do it physically. We want to make our mark on this world. We want to matter.
To truly make a difference in this world and be forever remembered, you have to touch someone’s life. You have to make the world a better place for you and those around you. Some people will live long lives of desperation trying to accomplish this feat.
And some will do it in a few, short years.
Next week marks the two-year anniversary of the tragic death of Gabrielle Nicole Ellis, who was just 12 years old when she perished in an automobile accident alongside her grandmother, Lois. Gabby didn’t have nearly enough time on this planet — an unfairly short amount of time — but I am quite certain those who know Gabby will never forget her.
I know my daughter certainly won’t.
Gabby was my daughter Sophie’s best friend. The two met in preschool and immediately became inseparable.
My daughter had everything she could ever want in a best friend. They were polar opposites in so many ways — Gabby was so outgoing and fun-loving, while my daughter has always been more grounded and pensive — that it made them a perfect match. Gabby would force Sophie outside of her comfort zone, while my daughter would bring Gabby back down to earth when the occasion required it.
They were supposed to be best friends forever. They should have discovered boys together (although I’m pretty sure Gabby, with her bubbly personality, might have found them before Sophie) and gone on double dates together. They should have double-dated at their high school proms. They should have been bridesmaids in one another’s weddings. They should have had kids and those kids should have become best friends.
It didn’t happen that way, which seems unfair in ways I can’t even express. Two years ago at this time, my wife and I had to look our little girl in the eyes and tell her that her best friend was gone and never coming back. No family should have to go through what Gabby’s family continues to struggle through to this day and no little girl should ever have to attend her best friend’s funeral.
While we don’t have Gabby any more, what we do have is her memory. At a very young age, little Gabby touched hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives with her positive attitude and brilliant smile. She was so full of laughter and positivity and most of all, hope. Teachers and classmates will always remember her. Friends will forever carry her in their hearts. Truthfully, anyone who ever met that precious little ball of energy will never forget little Gabby.
Neither will my daughter.
And that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment — one most people spend much longer trying to accomplish — for an all-too-short time here.
David Fong writes for the Troy Daily News, a division of AIM Media Midwest.