Writing has always been my favorite strategy for coping throughout my life, and now I find it might be my only way to cope with death. I have wanted to write a blog to honor the life of someone who influenced and changed the way I view and live my own life. I lost a friend to a drunk driver on November 26, 2010. Danielle Vacca’s life was taken early and unexpectedly from all of us. Whether you knew Danielle as Dani, daughter, sister, step-daughter, girlfriend, Barbra, roommate, friend, co-worker, or unicorn; Dani was the type of person that made even her acquaintances feel like her best friend. I met Dani about a year and a half ago while she was living with my friends in a cute renovated house in Salt Lake City, Utah. This house was full of excitement, parties, dancing, laughter and amazing conversation.
I was in love with Dani the first time I met her. She was one of those people that could make anyone feel special and accepted; she did just that for me every time I saw her big beautiful smile. We quickly became friends and soon I was visiting my friends with hope that Dani’s truck would be parked crooked on the side of the house. My greetings were never hi or hey, but I always entered the house on 9th saying, “IS DANI HERE!?”
Dani had the funniest personality and THE most entertaining friendship with my friend Ashley Brown who lived with her in the house on 9th. It was really so fun watching two people who were so different end up being absolutely perfect friends. I met Dani through Ashley, and will forever love Ashley for this introduction. None of us will forget their fights and conversations in their horrible New Jersey accents. Over time Dani and I quickly found out our similarities and we would always end up leaving the crowd to sit on the old porch or by the fire so we could talk of politics, art, make-up, fashion, traveling, music, literature, philosophy, equal rights, religion and of course gossip! Education was both our passions and we never stopped trying to find the meaning of life by comparing and compromising our ideas with one another. Dani was born on May 3rd and I was born on May 4th and we had an ongoing joke that because we were both Italian Taurus’ we were the elite breed. God, I loved our friendship so much; it will always be a very special connection, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to have had it.
I met Dani at a very crucial point of my life. I was struggling with loving and accepting myself for who I am. My struggles and concerns were never really voiced, but I think Dani had a way of reading and understanding people better than they could every truly understand themselves. She was such a support and knew just what to say to make me love myself. The way Dani lived her life was such an example to me, and I am sure, to many of you who knew her as well. Watching her and talking to her was a breaking point for the direction my life would go in. She taught me how to accept and love unconditionally. I watched my attitude towards life change throughout the time of knowing Dani. I want to publically thank her for the parts of her that she left behind in me, and for helping me to look myself in the eyes and love what I saw staring back at me. Thank you for being you and never thinking twice to alter yourself for acceptance or to please others. No one lived so much life in such little time as Dani Vacca.
Thank you to the Vacca family for raising such a beautiful and accepting daughter. I hope that you can find peace in knowing your daughter was so important and loving to so many people. She influenced and altered the thinking and hearts of so many of us during her short life. I know that Dani finally knows the “real” meaning of life, and I cannot wait to finish our conversation about it. Dani will continue living in my life and heart; she will affect my ideas, perspective and life forever. If there is one thing I have learned from losing my beautiful friend Dani, it is that there is no time to wait; live your life fully. I love you Dani and I hope you know how much you mean to all of us you have left behind.