A year ago, I lost my best friend in the entire world. Jessica Dillon was just the angel I needed from the first day I met her my freshman year continuing on to now. A year ago, I was at a hospital in Boulder praying to God and crying my heart out. A year ago, I got two phone calls that changed my life forever. One to shake up my Sunday morning and send me in a haze of tears, prayers, car rides, walks and hugs and a second t to change my life for good. The night of May 4th, 2014, God called my best friend Jessi home to Heaven after a day of fighting for her beautiful life. A day filled with chaos and confusion turned to a night sitting on the patio with my other best friend trying to settle into this hard hit reality. Today will make me cry. Today will make my heart hurt. This date has been approaching and I have been hiding from it and hiding from this blog as a result. When the tears fall today, know that as much as I try to be strong and positive, my heart will always be missing a place for Jessi. My heart is not empty by any means though. It is filled with love and memories. The memories flood in as I try to focus on the happy and warm feelings. Everything happens for a reason. Every moment lends an opportunity for growth, even the grievous ones. I admit. I suffered a fair amount this past year, but I have also grown and morphed in a way I could not even imagine possible. I am stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have a confidence in myself I could have never dreamed of. I can honestly say that I am truly happy in my life. Even when circumstances are not the best, or I feel stressed or sad, I can look at the bigger picture and I feel secure knowing that I am in a balanced and blissful place. I owe this to Jessi. She taught me how to keep an open heart and an open mind, how to focus on the important aspects in life like family, faith, health and love. She taught me how to lift myself up, so that I can carry on her legacy and lift others up as well. She taught me to live life with heart, health and happiness–and now I strive to teach those around me as well. As today carries on, I pray for strength and love and peace. I pray that I can share Jessi’s story and be inspiring and encouraging to others.