Life Can Change in a Minute

March 11, 2009
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It was just another day; Ballet on Tuesday and then off to hang out with my friends on a fun summer day' so I thought. We entered ballet class on July 15th for what we thought was just another class; little did we know how our lives were about to change. About 50 minutes into the class, our ballet teacher let us out to quickly get a drink of water. As I walked into my mom's office, I noticed that she was very upset. The mood in the room was extremely sad and heavy. I asked what was wrong but she would not respond. As I looked over my shoulder, I realized that the four people who were in the doorframe behind me were also crying. I then asked again what was going on. My mom told them not to tell me because I had to go back into class. As I left the office in shock; having no idea what was going on, and searching my mind for possibilities that would explain it all, I saw that all the people in the lobby were crying. The studio was silent and still, all that I could see were people crying or standing in shock not knowing what to do. None of us in the ballet class had any idea what was happening. It was confusing and frustrating at the same time because no one would tell me what was happening.
As we went back into class we all started talking, trying to wrap our head around what could have possibly happened. My teacher tried to continue class. My mind was off in another land, and I could not focus on the combinations.
Soon my mom stuck her head in the room and everyone went silent. She proceeded into the class with all of the parents of the dancers. They entered into the room with teary eyes. My mom broke down in tears and then said, 'I just got news' I just got news' that Mallory has passed away'. She drowned saving her cousin.'

This was the WORST news I could ever hear. My knees buckled and I fell to the floor screaming. Parents who were in the room said they have never heard a scream so horrifying in their life. I could not believe what I had just heard. I sat there in a ball on the ground and all I could say was 'no it can't be! I can't' I can't do this. I can't handle this again. I'm not strong enough. I can't do it without her.'
About four months before this, my best friend's brother was taken out into the ocean as he attempted to save a little boy he did not even know. Two young people so close to me in a span of three months had lost their life. I was sure my life was over. I could not continue any longer.
Instantly I could feel one of the moms by my side rubbing my back and embracing me. I could not believe my ears. The words my mom had spoken kept replaying over and over in my head. As I tried to look around I saw girls either standing in shock or on the ground like me, bawling. The emotion in the room was unbearable. Mallory was our team mate.
After about 10 minutes on our own trying to comprehend, we all huddled together and sat on the ground continuing to bawl. This happened for at least two hours. As we began to calm down, we decided that we could not part from each other. The only thing I needed at this moment were my girls. We all decided we were going to spend the night at the studio.
I loaded three girls into my car and took them to their house to get their stuff. When we got back to the studio, there was a ton of food waiting for us. Girls on the younger team had brought ice cream and pizza to the studio to make sure we were alright. I had no appetite though. I went into the back studio where I felt comfortable and safe. In the back studio I could not see the world continuing to move at such a rapid rate. Our world had stopped and the thought that people were continuing to move on with their lives made me angry. We talked late into the night and then we fell asleep, emotionally exhausted.
The next day brought more emotional wreckage. I woke up in a pretty good mood, until I remembered what had happened. I was bawling once again. It was an emotional rollercoaster we were all riding together. My mom came in and we talked about Mallory; our favorite memories, things we will miss about her and how we can keep her 'alive.' We then came up with a motto: 'We'll dance until we meet again.'
Because we are dancers, we expressed and explored our grief by choreographing a dance. Together we set a dance to 'The Prayer' by Josh Groban. It was a beautiful dance. I have never seen us dance with such passion. We danced what we had created, which was only about 45 seconds of the song. For the rest of the song we sat and cried as we listened to the music that simply reminded us of Mallory. I cried the hardest when he sings, 'I pray you'll be our eyes, and watch us where we go'I pray we'll find your light, and hold it in our hearts, when stars go out each night' Give us faith so we'll be safe.'
It was the hardest I had ever cried. It was another day of ups and downs. We were laughing and joking around one minute then sitting and bawling our eyes out the next. That afternoon Fox 12 news came to our studio and interviewed us. I was the only one willing to talk, so I was the spokesperson. I talked about how Mallory was the most outgoing, friendliest person I had ever known, and how there are over 300 kids at the studio, and Mallory made every single one of them feel like they were important to her. She was truly an amazing person. They then videoed our dance. Later that night my mom had a Grievance Counselor come in and talk to us about losing someone so close to us and the different emotions and stages of grieving. We then did a balloon release. We wrote notes on the balloons to Mallory and then all 40 of us went into the parking lot just outside the dance studio Mallory loved so much and released them into the sky. They stayed together as they flew. With the balloon release I felt we'd be okay. It'd be slow but we had each other.

For the next four days the eleven of us spent every minute together; rotating between one another's homes; needing to be together; surviving and slowly starting to heal. The journey has been long and hard and still today I am continuing to work through this. It is a forever journey. Fortunately, my team mates know that we will always be there for each other. Because of this horrible loss, we have formed a bond that will never be broken. I have come to realize how truly blessed I am to have loved an angel and most importantly to have known her love for me.
I cannot believe she is gone... physically. My Mallory affected so many lives. It seems unfair that she was taken at such an early age but she lived the fullest life ever! She will miss so many experiences but she will also be spared the pain and discomfort life can bring. She was a mother figure to all of the girls at the studio both young and old, and as everyone knows she absolutely always had a smile on that beautiful face of hers! As a team we decided that in everything we do we will perform and keep Mallory's amazing spirit alive. She may not be here physically but her spirit definitely still lives on. I thank her for the example she was and still is for me. I thank her for the inspiration she will always be to me. She always has made me want to be a better Devrie! Until then'I will dance until we meet again!





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