Chelsea's Sunflower

March 11 2011 / Chelsea's Sunflower
March 11 2011 / Chelsea's Sunflower

Chelsea was, with just her 17 years, a support for her friends and an inspiration for many. Even after her tragic death her spirit continues to motivate the entire community.

As fate wanted it Chelsea had, just days before she went missing, written an essay about what she believed constitutes a noble existence.
Below you find an excerpt that expresses the wide range and depth of Chelsea’s beautiful mind.

“The death of Ivan Ilych and Hadji Murad forced me to question the values of my own life thus far, and at an age where frankly, the looming presence of death hardly crosses my mind, to seriously think about my eventual fate. I found that while pondering death, the same mind-numbing fear experienced by Ivan Ilych grasped me as well. (...) Am I too not part of this still present petty bourgeoisie class? Do I too not also remain selfishly focused on trivial matters and do I too not strive to do what constitutes as socially expected out of mere complacency?”

“Not only does Tolstoy make it vividly clear that we all die, but he also attests to the fact that life continues callously on after death.
So if we essentially are born merely to die, how does one possibly live a life of meaning and significance?”

“Unconditional respect and honesty with oneself and others ensures that life remains free of poisonous superficial illusion, thus curing the disease of stagnation and hypocrisy. Yet, I also believe that the cure includes a daring dash of ‘joie de vivre’ - a fearless spontaneity and full embrace of life’s small joys, whims and the pursuit of what one truly loves to do.
Thus I believe that a truly noble existence comprises upon the principles of living for the sheer thrill of living, maintaining an objective honesty with oneself, and upholding an unconditional positive regard for all."

"I stand at a major turning point in my life as I begin to prepare myself to leave for college. As I embark for the first time out into the world truly on my own I must not live in fear of my own mortality and succumb to the complacency of society, but rather sap each ounce of life out of my own fleeting existence and live what I believe to be a noble life.”

Chelsea never left for college as her life was brutally ended shortly after writing these words, but her thoughts and smiles are remembered and repeated and thousands of people, young and old, are inspired to live ‘noble lives’.

On March 11, 2011, over 500 community members came together to create Chelsea’s favorite flower to be seen from the heavens.
A lifetime memory for all of us who participated, and an amazing photo that speaks volumes about unity and strength in numbers.
Chelsea’s infectious zest for life was memorialized with the words “Joie de Vivre” and her trademark sunflower.

We hope this image reminds you to live each day with the utmost joy and to engage with your community.