-faint february-

I’ve been very hesitant on commenting/sharing my feelings, because you always hope for the best in certain situations. I am overly optimistic in my viewpoints and look of life, so after hearing Cara had brain surgery, I simply thought she’d wake up a few days later and joke that they shaved her hair off. I was even on the prowl for a stuffed chihuahua to send to the hospital because the girl loves Taco Bell.

This morning, I woke up and knew it was going to be a bad day. I just had a feeling–and I looked at my phone and only saw one text from Cierra that simply read “Anna” and my heart sank. I remember the very first conversation I had with Cara (over pizza at a Miss NJ lunch), where she told me about moving to NJ from Arkansas and how her viewpoint on pageants changed over her year as Miss Island Resort. Little did she know that her life, and the lives she encountered, would be forever changed just a few days later. Her vibrant spirit and unique humor made her extremely likeable, and I knew in that very moment that she’d be Miss New Jersey (because after all, who could carry a candelabra on the Miss America stage but Cara?)

We walk through various avenues of life, and I, for the third time in my short 24 years, find myself overly emotional at the thought of another friend lost. It doesn’t get easier, and you don’t deal with the pain any better, but instead find purpose and meaning in knowing that God’s plan sometimes doesn’t match the one we have for ourselves. After reading the news, I was overcome with emotion, but picked up the phone to call Devon and said “she donated all of her organs. How amazing.” You see, you make these connections with people and you’re bound to them for life. That’s how this pageant world works–you meet these girls and they become your ride or dies–no matter the distance, the differences, the schools, the opinions. This sisterhood, this sorority–our hearts beat in unity for one another. Today, our hearts are beating a little slower and ache a little more for girl who never stopped smiling, cracking jokes or making situations less awkward. In all the pictures I’ve seen come across social media, there isn’t one single photo that fails to capture Cara’s radiant persona.

My heart hurts, my eyes aren’t dry and I can’t help but think of all the things that Cara had in front of her. Her future and her life was cut short– but what she accomplished in 24 years is what some people strive to accomplish in a lifetime. I remembered talking to Cara before I left for Hoopeston, and the message read like this:

Anna Negron, you have the most beautiful soul. Just read your blog and am sending so many good vibes and wishes with you to Hoopeston – but know that you’re not going to need luck if you’re just yourself. So go get ’em, girl!!! I for one am already so so proud of you. XOXO

Cara is immortalized. Seeing her face on posts by Cosmo, Perez Hilton, Huffington Post, Fox News, NY Daily News and others only reiterates that her beauty and accomplishments deserved to be known by all. May her legacy and her light live on forever. RIP sweet girl.

*written february 22, 2016

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