Death Changes Everything

By: Sarah Jones

It’s hard to understand and agree with this quote, unless you’ve experienced a great loss. My friend, Paige Winters, died in a plane crash and it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my entire life.

Her death truly has changed everything.

One less girl in our grade, in our group, in our lives. But the thing about Paige is that she wasn’t just a girl, she was everybody’s friend. Paige had the biggest heart ever and there was nothing she could do to make you dislike her. Paige or as I called her, “Poogie”, had to be the happiest person I’d ever met. She always gave the best guy and fashion advice, so anytime I needed help in those areas I knew I could count on her to help me and let’s face it, I have either a guy or fashion problem daily.

And that’s the worst part. I can never go to her again.

Paige isn’t here anymore and it’s not like she’s on vacation, she’s not coming back. I’ll never be able to listen to Paige’s cute squeal or hear her laugh, I won’t get to watch her graduate with me, I won’t see her beautiful smile, but worst of all, I won’t have Paige as a friend.

Paige’s death has changed everything.

It has changed the way I feel towards my friends. I never want to be in a fight, I never want them to leave without hugging me first and letting them know I love them, and I want to spend as much time as I can with each and everyone of them, no matter how close we’ve been in the past. In fact, I feel that way towards everyone. It has changed the way I feel about traveling and about movies. I can’t watch a movie that involves a plane crash because I just start to cry.

Even when our huge group of friends is together there always feels like something’s missing. Some girls say it’s Paige’s stories that are missing or Paige’s laugh, some guys say it’s the way she was always so energetic, but I don’t think it’s one or two things that are missing, I mean we’re missing a person. And not just any person, a person who gave me a million-plus reasons to adore her.

Paige is what’s missing.

Every little thing that made her who she was, that’s what’s gone.

Watching her parents try to cope with the loss of their 16 year old daughter has made me change the way I talk and act towards my parents. Paige’s death has opened my eyes to all the other issues going on around me. It’s even changed the way I feel at school.

I can’t even go into the jewelry room because that’s where Paige used to pull me out of class with a fake pass just so I could roam the halls with her.

I used to sit in jewelry everyday and every time the door would open I’d look for Paige or I’d wait for her to tap on the back door window. It may seem a little extreme to be upset by that, but when I saw Paige behind that window every day it’s hard to look at it and know that I’ll never see her face again. It’s the little things that I have the most trouble with. Little things like the way she wore 2 tank tops under her shirts or the way she’d always get lost, even if she was just driving to North.

But the thing I miss the most is how Paige always tried to get everyone together. She was friends with so many different kinds of people and she made us one big group. As this year started, we weren’t all as close and then Sunday, August 27th, Paige’s plane crashed. It took each and every one of us by surprise. When I answered my phone that morning and heard what had happened, I was speechless. I wanted to say something, anything, but I couldn’t. My friend Annie came and picked me up and we went over to the Andersons’ where we met up with a huge group of people who knew and loved Paige. My heart felt like it was ripped out and shredded to pieces.

Watching the Winters stay so strong, telling stories about Paige and with the support of my friends, the pieces are slowly starting to make their way back together. But there is still a huge hole that will never be completely filled, no matter how many good things happen.

Every day I think about Paige.

Some days I laugh, thinking of the dorky things she used to do and some days I cry, but each and every day I’m thankful. I’m thankful for knowing Paige and having her in my life, even if it was only for a few short years. And I’m thankful for everything she ever did or said and for changing us all. She brought us all back together and even though she’s not physically here she continues to change us. She’s helped all of us mature, she helped two guys quit smoking, and she helped us all become better people just by knowing her.

None of us will ever be the same, which is why I couldn’t agree more with those three words: “Death changes everything.”