Shelby, my college dormmate of one year and roommate of two years, passed away on Saturday.
Shelby was the quiet type who, when you walked to class with her and another friend, was the one who listened. You wouldn’t get to know her very well unless you happened to spend a lot of time with her. If you did know her fairly well, you’d know that she was a natural writer and editor, had a huge soft spot for babies and weirdly cute animals and had lofty expectations of the man she’d one day marry. But even if you barely knew her, you’d know that she cheered for the Ravens, was a Pepsi-loving vegetarian and was one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.
Together, we walked to and suffered through journalism classes, celebrated our 21st (and 22nd) birthdays in style and watched the Kentucky Derby three years in a row. We experienced not-unusual roommate tension, but we nevertheless bonded as we despaired over frustrating assignments, screamed at our football team when it lost and stayed up late watching bad television.
Our paths drifted after I graduated in May 2010 and as Shelby completed her degree in the following fall semester. But we met again in Columbia over lunch, and then at karaoke night at a favorite watering hole, when I visited town during that fall semester. On her birthday last month, I promised her and myself that once I was more settled in my new full-time job in York, we’d meet again over lunch. This lunch meeting would have happened this week or next.
Instead, earlier today, I attended Shelby’s service outside of Baltimore. For the first time in almost a week, I now have a sense of closure, and I can only hope the same of Shelby’s family and other friends.
Rest in peace, Shelby. We miss you so much.