A Life Cut Short- Goodbye Allie

By: Stacey Purcell

The day is hot.

Hot, like sweat running down in your underwear hot.

My daughter and I have just come from Pleasant Hall where she made her choices for the next round of sorority rush. We’re late to our next appointment and traffic is crawling through the campus. She’s stressed, I’m comic relief. Our day has been filled with nail biting, second guessing, laughter and lots of icy Diet Coke. Will she be invited back for the next round? Will she get her top three choices? At this point we just have to wait until morning.

Anyway, I digress because I don’t really want to go down the road I’m about to travel with you.

The phone rang. I answered thinking it was my son asking yet another question about a summer assignment he left to the last moment. It wasn’t. My brother’s voice came through the speaker. I knew something wasn’t right. He told me he had some bad news. He did.

It seems yesterday at 5 pm. a young woman lost her life on the road right outside my subdivision back home. I knew that girl, have known her for 15 years. Allie was in her mid twenties with all three of her children in the back seat. All three still in car seats. Allie lost her life as did her baby girl. The other two will survive. That sounds so clinical. I don’t mean it to sound that way.

Memories of Allie bounce across my thoughts, ricocheting like bullets. Nothing is linear, nothing is a solid train of thought. Images of my niece and her best friend (Allie) babysitting my daughter appear. Allie getting married, catching the girls smoking on the back porch, teaching them how to change diapers, Allie appearing at my front door when she “ran away” from home- so many thoughts, so many years.

The whole time I knew her, she struggled with life. Allie railed against her dysfunctional family. She never felt accepted and loved for who she was as a person. Was it a reality? I don’t know, but it was her perception so it was her reality. I remember having some late night conversations about how she wanted a baby. She wanted that tiny being to take care of because then she would be loved unconditionally. I argued that she was too young, too inexperienced, …too everything. Being Allie, she made her own way and proved us all wrong.

She found a fellow, not the best choice, but she got the baby she longed for. This would have stopped most girls from making a better life for themselves. Not Allie, once again she proved us wrong by enrolling in school. She’d take two steps forward and life beat her back. It was almost a rhythm for her. I lost contact with Allie at this point, but that’s not the end of our story.

The next years were full for her. She met her husband, married and had two more beautiful children. I kept up with “Allie news” through my niece and knew she seemed to finally find a smoother road to follow. That was about the time my life was in crisis.

My mother was extremely ill and had to be moved to Houston to a long term care facility. I was lost. My dad and I followed the ambulance that transported my mom the two hundred miles so she could be close to my house. They were about twenty minutes ahead of us and just as I pulled off the highway, the hospital called to tell me my mother was crashing and asked if they had the right to invoke the directive to let her go.

By the time I arrived, I didn’t know what I’d find. Those glass doors swished open and who was waiting for me? Allie. She was studying to be a nurse and recognized my mom’s name when they wheeled her in. She helped my family over the next few days while my mom was there. She visited with my dad and generally was there to do whatever she could.

Allie is gone now. Gone with her youngest baby. My heart is breaking at the thought that this young mother won’t be there for her other two children. She did finish her studies, did have babies that loved her unconditionally and went farther than a lot of people ever thought she would. She was a fighter and I’m honored to have been a part of her life.

41 Responses to A Life Cut Short- Goodbye Allie

  1. jbrayweber says:

    I am so, so terribly sorry for your loss, Stacey. When I saw this on the news, I cried. I am crying now. For you, for Allie, for Allie’s baby, her children, her family. What else is there to do but celebrate her life and the people she touched.


  2. Ruth says:

    She sounds like a wonderful person to have been in your life, and I know exactly how you felt at losing your mother, mine died in much the same way and I remember sliding down the hospital wall into a heap of sobs. I saw the news that night and saw her husband on it the following night. She will be missed, but perhaps she will be someone’s guardian angel and help once again.


  3. I didn’t realize her accident was on the news. It is right to remember and celebrate her life.


  4. Thank you for sharing, Ruth.I hope her other children will be able to carry their mother’s love in their hearts as they grow up.
    Like I told my niece yesterday- childhood friends just are not supposed to die. Just not supposed to happen.


  5. jeff7salter says:

    Very moving, very powerful. So wonderful that Allie could be there when you really needed her. So tragic that she was taken before she could bless other people.


  6. Tess says:

    My nephew lost a cousin a couple of years back, her death senseless, just like this…and so incredibly sad! At her funeral, he said, “God must have needed another angel.” I can only say God must have needed Allie. Sending prayers for Allie, the baby, her family, and her friends (esp you, Stacey).


  7. Hi Jeff- Allie sometimes took the hard route, but she persevered and ended up with a family, a degree, and a bright future. I was never so surprised when I saw her at the hospital, she was needed and didn’t hesitate to help our family. I wonder where she would have gone if she had more time.


  8. Thank you, Tess. I was a part of her life for a short time, but she made an impact on my family. I don’t understand her death, still can’t process it fully. but I appreciate the prayers you’re sending out.


  9. Diane Holmes says:

    Beautiful post. Beautiful life.

    Thanks for sharing Allie.


  10. jeff7salter says:

    Stacey, I had a good friend who died of pancreatic cancer in his early 40s. It’s still hard for me to think of his early departure. We were very unlikely friends. I was second highest in the organization and he was in a classification which was near the bottom. He was actually in one of ‘my’ departments [I supervised his supervisor]. He was about 13 years younger and single and black. I was married and white. Sometimes, those differences of age, race, marital status, hierarchy, etc. would be barriers. But somehow Jeff and I — yeah, his name was Jeff also — transcended it. We were weekly prayer partners for 12 years … up until the point that he was too sick to continue. And he died a couple of months later.


  11. William says:

    Heartbreaking, Stacey. I’m sorry for your loss, but happy that you knew such a wonderful girl.

    “If love died along with death, this life wouldn’t be so hard.”


  12. You have me in tears, Stacey. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing young woman. And how very sad and unfair!


  13. My heart goes out to you and her family. Her husband must be a badket case. Like others, I saw the news coverage. A tragic and senseless death. (((hugs)))


  14. Thank you for sharing this story. Life rarely goes the way we plan and yes, sometimes the best die young. I certainly never expected to be widowed at 36 with four kids to raise alone. I admire Allie for her determination. She must have been one heck of a fighter.
    This story reminds me of the poem, “Reason, Season, Lifetime”
    To summarize it goes like this:
    When someone is in your life for a REASON,
    it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
    Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
    because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
    LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
    things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
    Allie was in your life for a reason and a season, but you were in hers for all three.


  15. It was my honor to share my memories of Allie with you all. Thanks for stopping in, Diane.


  16. Jeff, thanks for sharing your story about Jeff. True friendship transcends artificial barriers that we create. Pancreatic cancer is a very unfair, tough card to pull. I too had a friend who died with it and she left behind 6 kids and she was only 50. Cancer is relentless. That being said, I celebrate that you had your friend for those years and to have him as a prayer partner makes it an even deeper, sweeter connection.


  17. Hey Will-
    I’m chuckling as I read your comment. I AM glad I knew Allie. There were times throughout the last decade or so that we weren’t too sure where she was headed, but I always liked her. She was funny, quick tempered and very loyal–qualities that served her well in the long run.
    I love your quote.


  18. I hope I’ve written a tribute that she would be proud of, Katrina. She worked hard for her triumphs and I wanted to let everyone know that I always admired her for that.


  19. Thanks for your thoughts, Anna. I’m only on the sidelines, I can’t imagine how to pick up the pieces and move forward as her husband and children are doing right now.


  20. Nancy says:

    Such sad news. Prayers for Allie’s family and friends!


  21. Robin, thank you for stopping in. I knew this would hit home for you after losing your husband at such a young age. I want to tell you how much I admire your “can do” attitude and how you’ve kept your family going. I think you are a very special person and I’m so glad to know you.


  22. Teddi Shriner says:

    Stacey, I’m sorry for your loss. She was a lucky young lady in that she had someone to write so eloquently of her life and her passing. What a special person you are!


  23. Thanks so much Nancy.


  24. Hi Ms. Shriner-
    Thank you so much for stopping in and writing such sweet words. I really hope I painted a picture of Allie that showed her strength, determination and love she had in her heart.

    PS. I keep up with all of your news through Aunt Pookie (Barbara)!


  25. Loretta says:

    So many words have already been shared here. Words of comfort, words of wisdom, words of insight…

    I believe no one passes through our life by accident, the people who come, teach us things, help us “look outside the box” and we do the same for them.

    I think Allie bequeathed the inspiration of what each of can be if we keep striving until it’s our time to go…

    Many warm thoughts and prayers sent to all those whose lives she touched…



  26. Bethany says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Allie’s family. So sorry for your loss. *HUGS*


  27. I received an email today that started with R.I.P. and then my friend’s name. Her story is nothing like yours, except that her life was cut short, in this case by degenerative dementia. Her husband kept her at home and took care of her, with home care nurses, etcetera, for 16 years.

    So I am sad for the loss of a smart, talented friend who became a paralyzed and confused invalid. And I am sad for the loss of a young mother with three babies in car seats.

    I’m happy that in both cases there was a partner who loved them.
    For my friend’s husband, there must be some small sense of relief.
    For Allie’s husband – no. No relief, only shock and loss and worry.

    What can we do? If we are connected to the Spirit of the Universe, we can pray for them. If we are not connected to a power greater than ourselves, we can send our care and love flowing toward those who grapple with the loss of their mates.

    We can be grateful to be alive and, at least in my case, quit worrying all the time about trivial problems that are part of life.

    None of us is here for all that long, really. So let’s be good to each other and especially good to the recently bereaved.


  28. Robin Yaklin says:

    Hey there, Stacey, big hugs. I’m recalling the evening I got one of those calls. Oh, so hard.


  29. Thom says:

    Stacey, Thanks for sharing sucha heartwarming story. I’m sure the impact you had on her and likewise hers on your’s was a positive for both of you.


  30. Hi Loretta- You always have such a beautiful way with your comments. Allie was meant to be an inspiration for all of us to keep pushing, to keep trying to better ourselves no matter how many times we fall down. I hope I can continue to use this lesson throughout my life.


  31. Thanks Bethany. Keep those prayers centered on her husband and children!! I know they could use them.


  32. Awww Madeline, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. Allie was taken far too early, but she didn’t have the dignity robbing disease your friend had. I will definitely keep her husband in my prayers and I hope he knows it’s OK to feel that sense of relief. Relief for her and himself.


  33. Thanks for sharing, Robin. Everyone has “those” phone calls in life. Unfortunately, we often get several. I was lucky to have met her.


  34. Thom, thanks for stopping in. I’m not sure I had much of an impact on her life, but I’d like to think that she thought of me fondly. She was special.


  35. laprincessekay says:

    Stacey, thinking of you and your family. What a beautiful tribute to a unique life.


  36. Thanks for stopping in Kay.Allie was a very unique young lady.

    I hope your August holiday is going well and I want to hear all the news about your new friend we talked about in New York. When are you going back to Paris? Please have some fish and chips while you’re home- I know it sounds touristy, but I love them so!!


  37. Neecy says:

    Wow. What an amazing spirited young woman. I agree with Kay, this is a great way for you to pay tribute to her life. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.


  38. Thanks Neecy for stopping in to share your thoughts. Allie will be remembered for a very long time in the hearts of those she loved. I appreciate your sweet words.


  39. Karen Newton says:

    A true and loving memory not just filled with good highlights but filled with reality.
    I feel your love and sorrow.


  40. Thanks Karen. I’ll be going to her funeral on Tuesday. Sigh- this feels wrong on so many levels.


  41. anvelope says:


    […]A Life Cut Short- Goodbye Allie « MUSETRACKS[…]…


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