It was March 31st, 2016 7:30pm after work. I was sitting on the beach waiting for the sunset to finish painting the sky the always beautiful reds, pinks, & purples. A mom, dad, and little girl, (maybe three years old) were walking up the beach when the little girl turned around, looked at the sky and turned back to her parents and wrapped her arms around their leg.

Immediately, I started thinking of family members and friends who I could shoot, with their children, I took out my phone and jotted some names down, and the first name, a girl who I had planned to do senior pictures with a few months after we both had graduated. Ally.

I remember right after she contacted me about doing her senior photos, she came over with Leigha to discuss it, and I had never seen a more lovable child. When she first saw me, wrapped her arms around me in a big hug and biggest smile. I remember looking up from her, to Ally, with the same huge smile. "She's the biggest social butterfly, I swear." So, I reached out to her before the sun had gone down, and her reaction was nothing short of enthusiastic. I can almost see that same smile. Her presence was always so potent, as long as I had known her, she was that way. If she was in the room, you knew it. It was the very thing that made her, her. Her "fix you" hugs, and never settle for less attitude. In middle school, we dated for about a year and I was honestly 100% insanely in love with this girl. And how could I not be. She was absolutely perfect in every way. Her laugh alone was enough to make you forget every problem you were facing. To me, I saw no flaws. Absolutely ever. In any way, shape, or form.


A little while passed after contacting her before I messaged again and said "Listen, if we want to get this Photoshoot done of Leigha, we're gonna have to get it done before she goes off to college." She replied "😂 Don't even make me think that far into the future." We laughed and I told her that I'd contact her in two weeks after a few resets had been completed at my work and I knew my days off in advance. Unfortunately that would be the last time we were to talk. I regret not pushing it. Not keeping in contact better. But how were any of us to know.

A few days before I was about to get my work schedule, my mom woke me before work and told me of what she had seen on Facebook, and I was in disbelief.  I unlocked my phone, went to Facebook and saw nothing but her smiling face with words of remembrance and "gone to soon's." I simply broke down and cried. Because of one mans poor decision to get behind the wheel after drinking, her smiling social butterfly is now without. And we, without her.

Since that day, I've gone through nearly every letter between us (because I'm a sap who saves that kind of stuff) and after every one, signed "❤ Always, Ally." And I believe that's the truth. You truly loved everyone of the lives you made an impact on. And we will always remember you Ally, with the amazing and spontaneous life you always led. Rest softly. Or, do some handstands on the pearly gates. I'm more than sure you've tried by now.

Alexandria J. Marler