Monica danced into the world on March 31, 1998. She always had a vibrant personality and was full of energy. From a young age, Monica started perfecting her skills in various dance styles including tap, jazz, and ballet. She was on the drill team at Cottonwood High School while attending the Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science. Monica excelled academically and received multiple scholarships her senior year. Monica attended Westminster College, where she was also part of the Westminster Dance Company. Monica was a hard worker who put full effort into everything she did. She worked two jobs while attending school. She strived to be independent and successful every day of her life.

On July 2, 2017, Monica worked a long shift and attended a barbecue at a friend’s house after work. People described her last moments being full of life, just as she always was, with a smile on her face. Before leaving the barbecue, she told friends that she was exhausted and hadn’t slept much. On her way home, Monica fell asleep behind the wheel and her car crashed into a wall in Murray. Monica died just after midnight on July 3, 2017.

Being told that such an amazing life force is no longer here is the worst pain a parent will experience. I didn’t get to say goodbye or I love you. I didn’t get to give her one more hug or hear her laugh just one more time. The thoughts of her being all alone during her last moments break my heart every day. Monica was in two previous crashes just shy of a year before this crash, both times from falling asleep. I constantly worried for my “invincible teenager,” telling her how lucky she was they weren’t worse, and that they didn’t involve anyone else. This time, she wasn’t so lucky. I cannot stress enough how much drowsy driving is just as bad as intoxicated driving. I wish she would have called for a ride or rested for a while instead of thinking she could make it home. I wish my baby girl was still here today.

Monica was a daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend to countless people who will never stop grieving for her. She was the glue that held us all together, in her family and her friendships. One of Monica‘s favorite quotes is, “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” This quote reflects who Monica was: a fearless person who loved everyone wholeheartedly. She believed there was still beauty in this world and made everyone around her believe it, too.

BEING TOLD THAT SUCH AN AMAZING LIFE FORCE IS NO LONGER HERE IS THE WORST PAIN A PARENT WILL EXPERIENCE.

2017 Teen Memoriam