A Song for Cassie

by Caitie, 15, KS

My best friend and I were alike in so many ways it was uncountable. We liked the same music, guys, people, foods, songs etc. We met at Girl Scout camp and our friendship blossomed from there. Cassie was always willing to help everyone, regardless of whether or not she liked them as a person. She was never afraid to get wet, muddy or dirty. She truly thought of the camp as her home away from home and all her fellow campers as siblings.

After camp, Cassie and I made a pact to stay close, and we did. I invited Cassie to my 13th birthday, and to this day I can still remember it. I can remember the feel of the wind racing through my hair as the two of us sped along the lake in that tiny intertube. I remember her impish grin as she tried to drive the boat, and I remember feeding brownies to the fish. I remember having the windows of the truck down, screaming along to my new NSYNC cd on the way to Pizza hut. I always laugh when I think of the poor cowboys we freaked out, and the poor people at Pizza hut. We filled the place with our laughter and songs. Though there were only eight of us there (and four of them adults) you'd think the place was packed full. I remember standing up front with her and teaching songs to the entire resturant, and I remember the birthday spankings she gave me, and how she made me run around the flagpole.

A few weeks after my birthday, we hung out again. We went to Wrangler Aide training and then I spent the night at her house. Those 48 hours are forever ingrained in my memory. The smiles, the laughter, the jokes. We rode Duchess, we explored the woods, played in the barn. I remember in the morning telling Cassie that I was going to see the goats. Somehow I ended up at the horse pasture, watching the sunrise. Then she jumped on my back whispering "I knew I'd find you here". It was like we could read eachothers minds.

Two days after that, on September 11th, Cassie and her two sisters were in a one-car accident near their house. The car rolled and Cassie and Crystal who weren't wearing seatbelts were thrown through the windshield. They were taken by helicopter to a near hospital. They were in comas, on life support and had severe brain damage. Crystal was pronounced brain dead the very next day, but Cassie survived for a week. Then, on September 18, 2001, the doctors prounounced her brain dead and taken off life support.

After she died I did a fundraiser and bought a bench and a plaque which still stands today at the girl scout camp. At the service, I dedicated it and gave a speech. That week at ending campfire, we sang a song for Cassie. We sang I Hope You Dance by Leanne Womack. The whole camp was in tears by the end of the song, even those who didn't know her. Standing up there under the dim lights seeing the whole camp crying and bonding was quite the experience. I knew she was watching us all.

Losing Cassie has been one of the hardest events of my life. It still hurts, it still makes my heart ache; sometimes it feels like I can't breath. I still don't know about God, I can't understand why he took her, but I'm healing. So everyone, please wear yourseatbelts. And when you hear the song I Hope You Dance think of Cassie. It's my song for Cassie.