Thursday, April 11, 2013

sunshine in my soul

On April 1, 2013 our life was turned upside down yet again.  Every evening I read the Salt Lake Tribune and the New York Times online to catch up on the news of the day.  As I read an article on the Salt Lake Tribune, a breaking news article popped up.  It listed that  Nevada woman had been killed in a car accident.  Curious, because my home state is Nevada, I clicked on the article.  As I read the name "Marissa D. Watkins, 20, of Moapa, NV" tears filled my eyes.  One of my best friends was dead.

There are a few things you need to know about Marissa.  Marissa was a daughter of God and she knew it.  It radiated from her.  Marissa was so happy and positive, it was almost annoying.  Whenever I was feeling down or upset, she always was so happy and uplifting.  She'd read scriptures with me, she'd tease me to make me smile, she'd make me feel better about myself.  We became friends in elementary school.  Soon, six of us began getting together all the time.  Marissa, Alison, Jordan, Jessany, Kimberly and I were inseparable throughout our childhoods and throughout our teen years.  Marissa was a member of the high school dance team, where she shined.  The five of us would often go to games to watch Rissy dance. 

Reverse Date 2011

Pirate Motion Dance Review 2010

 Following the final performance of "Don't Drink The Water" MVHS Theatre 2010

Marissa Dawn Watkins changed my life for the better.  Even when we were competing against each other for roles in the theatre or choir, her competitive spirit made me better.  When Marissa wanted something, there was no stopping her.  That was always something I greatly admired.  I often gave up if things became too difficult, but not Rissy.  She was a fighter and she'd never stop until she got what she wanted.  Marissa had an intimate relationship with God and Jesus Christ.  To quote her journal "The power of the atonement is awesome."  Marissa continues to teach me everyday about the gospel and about how to pattern my life after Jesus Christ.

The day after hearing the news and finding out when the funeral was to be held, I immediately booked my plane ticket.  On Friday afternoon, I departed the Salt Lake Airport and began my flight to St. George Utah where my best girlfriends were waiting for me.  Kim, Kim and Alison (yes, two is very confusing) and I jumped into the car and headed over to meet our other friends at the St. George Utah Temple.  There we met up with Jordan and did a session together.  Out of our group of six friends, four of us are endowed so it was so special to be able to have that experience as best girlfriends to attend a session together.  After our session, we met up with Kenna, Jacqulyn, Danielle and Victoria.  We ate the most delicious dinner at the Black Bear Diner and then headed to my hometown of Moapa Valley.

The next morning Kim was prepared with an entire box of tissues in her bag for the viewing and funeral services.  All 5 of our group of friends was able to get together to celebrate Marissa's beautiful life.  Marissa's life was a gift to anyone who was able to interact with her.  We were blessed with 20 miraculous years with one of Heavenly Father's angels.  Marissa loved the gospel.  Marissa loved the people surrounding her.  Marissa radiated light and her beautiful smile brought people to her.  The services were beautiful, filled with lots of purple flowers (Marissa's favorite color) and beautiful music (another passion of Marissa's).  The five of us cried a lot, embraced each other and were inseparable for the entire day.  We lost a member of our group of friends, and all of us were still trying to process that loss.

After the beautiful graveside service where Marissa's wonderful father dedicated her grave, the five of us met together for lunch.  We were able to eat, enjoy each other's company, reminisce about our high school days and catch up on what we were all doing now.  Alison entered the MTC just last week to serve in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Kimberly will be leaving for the Brazil MTC in June.  Jessany is a few weeks away from submitting her mission papers.  Jordan and her husband, Jay, are living in Henderson, NV.  And, of course, my husband and I live in Kemmerer, WY.  It is amazing that we are all so far spread across the world, but we still are able to keep our friendships strong.  

Even though a member of our group of friends is missing from the following images, we all have comfort knowing someday we will all be reunited again.  We will be able to love, laugh and have fun while together on this earth.  One day, we will be able to do all of those things together again.  I am so grateful for the gospel and for the knowledge that families (and friendships) are forever.

All of us minus Jessany after the funeral service

Jessany, Me, Alison, Kim and Jordan
April 6, 2013


  1. I knew Marissa! Small world. We were in the same ward when we were both going to Snow College last year. She was definitely a great girl.

  2. This made me cry. Marissa was such a beautiful soul and she was lucky to have such amazing friends.


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