Life is Short

Most college kids get a bad rap for being cocky, selfish, indestructible party animals who think they have life by the tail.

Then, there’s Ariane Noelle Patterson.

By all accounts the Gardner-Webb University student was as humble as they come, even making public displays of her gratitude to God via Twitter.

On January 17th the religious studies major took to the social media platform to post this message: “Thank you God for another year of life.”

The 17th was Patterson’s 21st birthday and she had a lot to celebrate. According to the North Carolina Christian college, Patterson was a hard worker, a talented musician, and recently obtained a work-study position managing multimedia for campus ministries.

Unfortunately, God had other plans for the college senior.

Hours after Patterson’s tweet was sent out into cyberspace, she collapsed during a religion class and died at a local hospital.

University officials say the cause of Patterson’s death is still under investigation.

I write a lot about irony on this blog, but this incident struck my particularly hard.

I never met Ariane Noelle Patterson. I’ve never visited her college and I don’t know any of her family or friends. However, I do know what it is like to have a daughter whom you love beyond words.

I cannot imagine the utter shock and grief Patterson’s parents must be experiencing right now. However, I can imagine the pride that would swell in me if I were her mom and saw the sweet tweet Ariane sent from her phone hours before her death.

Who knew a simple eight-word tweet could reveal so much about a person?

Her life may have been short, but it will be a long time before Ariane Noelle Patterson will be forgotten.

There’s little one can do to comfort a grieving parent, though I hope Patterson’s mom and dad will be able to find solace in the memories they shared with a daughter who clearly was raised well, as evidenced by an electronic message that spoke volumes about her gracious spirit.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.