Missing: but not from our hearts

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    By Michelle Gifford

    The dorm walls, once filled with photographs and notes, were bare. The closet once overflowing with dresses, shoes and blankets was empty. The normally cluttered desk was now spotless. The only thing left in the dorm room was a bed, bursting with crying girls.

    As we said goodbye to each other, we all knew that over the summer we would remember and long for the times spent eating Sunday dinner at the Morris Center, having dorm room sleepovers and singing along to country songs played on our guitars. Over the span of a year we had come to love each other.

    Each of the friends had a specific role to fill in our friendship. Brooke Wilberger was the vitality. She was the girl that never quit moving and working and who never let a smile leave her face. When we heard Brooke was missing two weeks after we said goodbye, the energy that so fervently bonded us girls? friendship and kept it alive became dim. It was hard to believe that someone would take such a vibrant woman with a life so full of promise.

    I remember Brooke in her pajamas, the oversized T-shirt drowning her petite body, her golden blonde hair hung perfectly straight, her eyes sparkled mischievously; you knew she was going to get you to do something you probably should not be doing, especially at that time of night. When most girls were going to bed at midnight, Brooke ordered the pizza, selected the chick-flick and convinced the friends to forget the beauty sleep and have a sleepover. We would fall asleep snuggled in two pushed-together dorm beds, talking about kissing, love and boys.

    A year later as I remember Brooke, I have to think of the things that she taught me. Throughout the year, Brooke held many titles: student, Sunday school teacher, employee and friend. Each role brought different responsibilities and required much time and effort, but Brooke met each with dedication and determination to become the best. Excelling to Brooke was not about gaining the admiration of others, but rather devotion to her well-established work ethic.

    I also learned from Brooke how to be a friend. As most people struggled to make a place for themselves at BYU, Brooke made friends with everyone. Every Sunday, our ward met together on the first floor of U-Hall for ward prayer. Seeing the throng of ward members crowded around Brooke, showed how Brooke affected every person she met. I am sure that everyone in our ward at one time thought that Brooke was his or her best friend.

    So, as we friends try to sort through facts of Brooke?s disappearance, we find strength and comfort knowing that wherever Brooke is she is still Brooke. She will always be the girl with the mischievous twinkle in her eye, full of energy. She will always be our little Brookie.

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