Words cannot express the sorrow and pain I feel for the Ritzer family in losing their beautiful daughter Colleen. When a tragedy like this happens many good things are said and written about the deceased. In the case of Colleen and the Ritzer famly, everything you read about them is true. There is not a nicer family or better people than the Ritzers.
I am having trouble expressing myself in this difficult time so I think I will let 2 of my children give you a sense of who Colleen and the Ritzer family are. My 20 year old son, John, has been best friends with Dan Ritzer since elementary school. We think of Dan as our third son. The Ritzers also treat John as one of their own family members. Here is what John posted on Facebook yesterday:
"After growing up and spending countless family vacations with the Ritzer clan, I can truly say there was not a better role model out there than Colleen. You had a significant impact on the lives of Dan, Laura and countless others that will absolutely never be forgotten. As the oldest child, you embraced the responsibilities of paving a path for your two younger siblings. Your leadership and inspiration has made an impact on us all. Proud to call Dan Ritzer my best friend and blessed to have the whole Ritzer family in my life for so long. Stay strong. You will be forever missed by everyone, Colleen. R.I.P."
And my daughter Shannon devoted some of her college essay to Colleen. Here is an excerpt:
Colleen’s death has awoken many feelings within me. I have always been a perfectionist expecting the best out of myself and the ones around me. In addition, I have always been driven to succeed whether it was in school, sports, dance or a simple solitary workout at the gym. At times it feels like I am so caught in the events of my life, I do not step back to appreciate the many blessings that I have.. Experiencing this tragic event, I now realize how fragile life is; how things you take for granted can be taken from you without any warning. I am so fortunate to have a very close knit family. I have been blessed with many long time friends. It is not as if I have ever taken them for granted but I certainly do appreciate them more given Colleen’s tragic death.
Colleen was an active Twitter user and regularly communicated with her students outside of the classroom. She was wise beyond her years and tried to instill her wisdom upon her students. She certainly has impacted my life and I am determined to try to live my life more like Colleen Ritzer lived hers during her short 24 years. Here are my three favorite Colleen tweets:
No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.
The best things in life aren't things.
Find something good in every day :)