"If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them"
These are just a few of the many pictures of Hannah and I that I have to cherish. I want to point out that her loss was nothing that could be controlled. She was innocent in this situation, which makes the entire scenario that much more real to me. Hannah was killed last year the second night of little 5. She went missing April 24th and her body was found brutally beaten on the side of the road about 30 minutes away from IU's campus.
Hannah had this laugh, this obnoxious and super cute laugh. The kind of laugh that makes you laugh even when you don't think the joke is funny- you simply laugh because her laugh makes you laugh! Hannah was 3 years older than me and drove me to and from cheer practices my entire freshman year. These 20 minute car rides each way gave us the time to talk about life. I was able to ask her questions about boys, friends, cheer, family without being judged. I felt completely safe when I was with Hannah. I looked forward to seeing her in the hallways at school because she would always scream my name or walk with me to the parking lot to the car. I had the opportunity to cheer with Hannah at Indiana Elite for many years. Along with cheering competitively together, she also convinced me to cheer for our high school basketball team my freshman year. When Hannah left for college, I quit the high school cheer team because it wasn't the same without her leadership. Along with many other girls on my cheer team and in my grade, I too looked up to Hannah. She was so incredibly responsible even for a senior in high school. She was really good at weighing out the pros and cons of a situation and helped me in numerous ways. Her friend group at school was a group of girls that I continue to look up to and praise. Each one carries a little bit of Hannah in them and I can see it in their walk. And I know that I too carry a lot of Hannah in my walk.
I think about her constantly. Always replaying that night in my head of what could have possibly happened, then realizing that trying to picture that night does not help me get closure. Being in Arizona, I wasn't able to fly home for Hannah's funeral, so I really feel like I never got the proper closure of her death. No one talked about it in Arizona, it wasn't on the news, and only the friends I told knew how much it affected me. I was all alone out there. It was by far the hardest last few months of school- pretty much cried myself to sleep every night until I came back to Indy for the summer.
Hannah comes from a great family. Raised by her confident mother, Robin, who is also my family veterinarian and by her father, Jeff. From them, she gathered the most admirable characteristics to make her the person she was. It is no wonder Hannah and her sister grew into such well-rounded, genuine, independent women. Her personality was so flattering, so fresh, so innocent, yet incredibly bold. Although we were 3 years apart, Hannah had a way of breaking the age barrier and treating me like we were true friends. She is the most beautiful, bright eyed girl I have ever been blessed with the chance of knowing. I want to end this post by encouraging anyone whose reading it to always be aware of your surroundings. Every room you walk into have an escape plan in your head, just in case. Be overly cautious. Question situations. Understand there are psychopaths in this world. Because Hannah could be any one of us. We all need to stick together in order to keep each other safe!
I am constantly aware of your absence, especially being a student at IU and having the privilege to cheer my last year at IU with your younger sister. What happened to you will never sit well with me. Or anyone I know. You didn't deserve that night. Literally, not one bone in your body deserved the corruption of that night.
My last memory with Hannah was my freshman year of college at GPHI. I had no intentions of even seeing Hannah that night, but I decided to walk the hallways of GPHI until I found her. I found Hannah in her cute, cozy room smiling and laughing, as she always was. I was so incredibly happy to see her. Hannah was two years older than me. I felt like I could always learn something from her, even when we cheered together at Indiana Elite. She had the best stories from high school and I could always gain something from them.
Hannah was someone I honestly adored and looked up to. She was the life of the party, but could also be quiet and respectable when she needed to be. Hannah was the girl on our team with the positive and encouraging attitude. On Senioritas (the name of our cheer team Hannah's senior year), she was the girl who went above and beyond. She was the one to actually do the correct amount of tumbling passes assigned by our coach. Hannah was never the girl who cheated her way through life. Her energy was 100p contagious. It was impossible to be in a bad mood when you were surrounded by this angel.