Even with all the death that’s occured since the beginning of the year, from celebrities to people I grew up with, none have been as devastating as the death of my friend Leah Miller. She had gone, as she did every two weeks, to have her nails done and was nearly home when she was broadsided by a drunk driver. I met Leah in 2005 and almost immediately, I knew that I had a friend for life.
Through conversation, we discovered that we were both Paralegals (she had decided to “downgrade” to a position of Legal Assistant because of the workload) and our friendship grew from there. I ended up working in downtown Denver, very close to the building she had worked in for years at 1700 Lincoln. At the very least, we met once a week for lunch at some new place (most times at Leah’s suggestion). I remember vividly seeing her coming, regardless of the weather. I remember all the times we chatted during extended lunch hours, during the boy’s games and during practice.
My spirit was crushed when I heard of her death. The last email that I will ever receive from her was one that she sent the day before her death at 3:47 PM. It was a chain sort of email that she had sent to me and others before and it struck me as odd that she would send it again, because that was out of character for her. It had been my intention to write her back to say hello and poke fun at her for repeating an email but I didn’t get to it.
I had spent well over an hour on the phone with my college roommate on the evening of September 10th and I did hear the email notification but didn’t get off the phone. Once I ended my call, an email popped up and right away, I knew it wasn’t good news. I just knew – I just knew!! I knew that it was a reply to Leah’s email of September 9th, and for a minute, I was just praying that it was one of her other friends making the mistake of hitting “reply all” instead of “reply”. Terri went straight to the point in the email with the following sentence: “I am so deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Leah.” I remember screaming. My son just happened to be in the same room as me and he became terrified. When I was finally able to talk and told him that Ms. Leah had died, he was overcome with sadness. His mind immediately went to her son, Sheldon, who was his friend and teammate.
I have come to know the details of the accident and I am so heartbroken. She was broadsided by a drunk driver who is also an illegal alien. He is being charged with vehicular homicide, driving without a license, reckless driving resulting in death and a slew of other things. He had hit another vehicle just before he killed Leah. I’ve never been the type to wish death upon anyone and I won’t start now. What I would like is for him to know the pain that he has caused so many people. Leah worked for a law firm with over 800 people and they had to call in grief counselors. That in itself says what a great person she was. Her parents are crushed. Her son is sick with grief. I did not cry today as I have relied heavily on God to give me peace with this matter. Yesterday and the night before were awful for me. I look at the picture of her and the ones of her son and I wish there was some way I could turn this all around. I realize that God’s will must be done but that doesn’t lessen the pain.
I will carry her in my heart for the rest of my days and I will never forget the sweetness that was her spirit. R.I.P. Ms. Miller.