Dear Ashleigh,

This weekend, one of my all time favorite people and also one of the most influential in my life passed away.  Suddenly.  Without hardly any warning.  Her name is Ashleigh Nicole Cox and she is my cousin.   She was snowshoeing with friends when a sudden avalanche occurred and swept her into a stream where she was buried for 4o minutes before paramedics got her out.  They were able to retrieve a pulse but the next day, her body shut down and she was taken off of life support.  To say that we are in shock is a complete understatement.  The outpouring of messages on Ashleigh’s Facebook indicate how special she was to people.  But I can’t put all that I want to say in a short Facebook post.  So here are 21 reasons why Ashleigh was incredible  to me.

1. She loved High School Musical as much as me.  In fact, probably more.  One time, we stayed up late trying to quote the entire second movie.  And though we should be embarrassed by how spot on we were, there’s no shame.2.  She had the cutest dimple just below her right eye.  6035_10200808460996841_1071885523_n3.  She was oldest grandchild on my dad’s side of the family and as such, all of us littler cousins idolized her.IMG_22504.  At reunions, us older girls were inseparable.  And Ashleigh was the leader..34883_1534285840081_6204850_n5.  Ashleigh was completely confident in herself.  But it was a quiet confidence that was attractive and appealing .

6.  She was so close to the spirit and fully invested in the gospel.  She allowed the spirit to guide every decision she made.

7.  We emailed for THREE years back and forth, all throughout my high school years and her college years.  I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to reading her emails.  She would write novels.  She wouldn’t just tell me snippets about her life, rather she would tell me dating stories, how her classes were, etc…  I loved loved loved those emails and will miss them more than words can say.34009_1534271319718_4353640_n8.  She made everybody feel important.  Like they were her closest friend.

9.  She loved her family.  And it was clearly evident.  1487367_10202587354307316_235185327_n9.  She loved BYU.556241_10200583356249363_1893597018_n10.  Ashleigh and I both shared a deep, passionate love for BYU Men’s Volleyball.  We would discuss it every time we emailed each other.188438_1951669634415_6641236_n11.  She was majoring in Human Development.  Which is what I want to major in.  She followed what she loved to do and didn’t care what others said about it.

12.  Ashleigh loved to run.  And she was dang good at it too.

13.  She loved traveling, going on adventures.  Just this past summer she went to Romania and had an incredible experience.983607_10201374810315220_116803454_n14.  She could sing.  I remember she once harmonized along to Colbie Caillat’s “Realize” in the car (and that song is dang hard to harmonize to).

15.  She took pictures of everything.  It makes me want to not be so afraid to pull out my camera more often.

16.  She never took things for granted, and she didn’t complain.

17.  At reunions, Ashleigh would always be the one who took the blame whenever us girls were too loud at night.  Last reunion, she showed all of the cousins a hilarious bromance video and when we got too loud from laughing, she was literally the only one that got in trouble.  But we would always agree it was worth it ;)

18.  She was so good at giving advice.  It was always positive, realistic and needed.

19.  Her smile.  It was killer.1526552_10202744783563695_1365265871_n19.  She captivated everybody.  Everybody wanted to be her friend.  And everybody respected her.

20.  She was my twin.  We were both interested in the same major, had similar personalities, heck, even our trek experiences were the same!   She was like the sister I never had.36378_1534285160064_5420009_n21.  She always always looked at the good in the world.  I can’t really explain how much she loved life and how much she showed it.  In her words, actions and pictures you can see that she was afraid to go out and try adventures, to look at a situation in a positive light and to live life to the fullest.

 Ashleigh, I miss you each and every day.  Thank you for being the person that I want to be someday.  For loving me and thinking I was funny.  And thank you for inviting all us cousins here in Utah to dinner.  You made it possible for me to see you one last time.  I love you. xoxo


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