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Celebrating a life

Kara Mathis | Friday, April 29, 2011

My friend Olivia’s birthday is today. She’s beautiful, energetic, talented, and extremely smart. Throughout our friendship, she has pushed me to my greatest potential, encouraging me to be the best person I can academically, athletically, socially and spiritually. She was the one who introduced me to my relationship with Jesus Christ, and I could never thank her enough for that. Livi is an extremely important part of my life. Unfortunately, Olivia died almost five years ago. She was crossing the street on a rainy day and someone hit her. It was the end of my freshman year. She was 16.

This year at Notre Dame, we have been faced with many challenges. We have lost peers and friends. I did not personally know Lizzy, Declan or Sean, nor do I know who they were close to. I do, however, know all too well the pain that comes with the death of a loved one. I remember the summer after Livi’s accident begging God to take the hurt away. All I wanted to know was if the pain would ever subside. To those who knew the three who passed on this year: It gets better. I am still sad, still angry and still don’t understand why God took my best friend when she was so young. But now, on what would have been her 21st birthday, I can smile and not cry when I talk about her. I can celebrate her life instead of mourning her death.

To you on campus who feel a loss, any loss, you are not alone. Today, I’m remembering a friend, feeling her loss, but also rejoicing in the fact that she came into my life at all. She has made me a better person, she changed who I am for the better, and I look forward to the day when she meets me at the gates of Heaven. Until then, I continue to look to her for guidance and support. I celebrate her birthday today because that’s what she would want me to do: celebrate life and live every day to the fullest.

Kara Mathis


Lyons Hall

April 28