“Kim? Kim, it’s Beth Anne. What happened?”
My voice caught on the phone with my college roommate, Kim. We hadn’t spoken on the phone in 8 years & she was the first person I called when I saw the update, that Courtney Sanford was gone. Ten years ago, Kim & I shared bunk beds in a 20×20 cinder block room on our sorority hall, where our “big sisters” helped us study & taught us to be ADPi’s.
Courtney was Kim’s big sister & with one Facebook message, she crossed the median on Business 85 & she was gone.
I spent Thursday night on the phone with my sorority sisters, trying to understand. The person in the accident is never supposed to be someone you know, someone you wrapped your arms around, someone that made you laugh. But this time, it was.
I saw her story shared on Facebook by my sisters, then by people that didn’t know Courtney. It was hard to see her crumpled red car every time I opened my laptop. I clicked to Buzzfeed & the girl I knew stared back at me in black & white as the top story. I refused to read the comments & I put my head in my hands & cried.
I felt violated that my friend was now public property even though I wished desperately for others to take the warning.
I saw the “FAIL” over her face & a piece of my heart broke further. I remember Courtney outside of the accident, like the Facebook status & wreck happened to someone different, & yet the FAIL makes it impossible to separate my friend from the truth of the accident.
What happened is bullshit & Courtney would agree because she loved to call people on bullshit.
Courtney was beautiful & flawed & loved, just like all of us. She made a bad choice & paid with her life. Don’t post her story to mock her, but to raise awareness because we’ve all done what she did & maybe it wasn’t a Facebook status, but a text or grabbing a drink that rolled on the floor. I don’t care how many times you’ve done it successfully before – STOP NOW. You are human & distracted, just like Courtney.
People love you & would miss you, just like Courtney.
As her family & friends & our Zeta Psi chapter grieve for her, please let this be a reminder that you are more precious than any Facebook status or text. Please put down the phone. It can always wait.