Tribute to a gem, Sonya Twist
A beautiful life
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[APRIL 12, 2005]
stand out in my memory, such as a morning at work some 11 or 12
years ago. I was sitting at my desk sipping my coffee, attempting to
wake up and pay attention to the things that were tugging on me on
that day. As I was sitting there in my sleepy state, I caught a
glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye, and then right
before my eyes, a very tiny person popped up in front of me and
hopped up on my desk. She sat down so close to me on the edge of my
desk that we were almost nose to nose. She had a very bright little
expression, twinkling eyes and a huge smile. She startled me when
she said, "Hi."
This was my first vision of Sonya
Twist. She was all of 3 or 4 years old. She was a beautiful child,
apparently unafraid of anything and friendly beyond description. We
sat there and had a very lively discussion for about 10 minutes,
after which she said 'bye, hopped down and went back to her father's
office in the other part of the building.
Crucifixes mark the site where Route 10 crosses
Deer Creek. [click on photo for larger image]
My first impression was that here was a
child who was going to accomplish great things. There was so much
personality and energy in that little package.
Over the years Sonya grew up to be a
wonderful young lady, and with the guidance and support of her
father, she did indeed go on to accomplish much. Sonya proved at an
early age to be a prodigy at music, first taking on the piano and
then later the French horn. I heard that she was involved with the
Champaign-Urbana Symphony and even recently auditioned for the
She excelled at school, and whenever
I bumped into her father, he bragged that she had again gotten
Flowers and other artifacts have been placed
amidst the wreckage of the guardrail. [click on
photo for larger image]
At church she was involved in every
youth group activity, went on short-term missions trips and was said
to have been a person who brought other people together. She was not
only accomplished, she was a very positive influence.
[to top of second column in this article]
Everyone who knew her remarked how
cheerful and happy she was. Several years ago she was traumatically
attacked by a dog in her neighborhood. She was bitten on the face
and the neck and underwent intensive plastic surgery to restore her
youthful beauty. Even this event failed to bring her down or change
her cheerful disposition.
Sonya Twist was what we would call a
gem, a treasure.
A week ago on
Sunday my daughter called me while I was out of town and told me
amidst tears that something very bad had happened. Sonya and her
father had been in an accident and Sonya had been killed.
Since that time, our whole family
and those around us who knew Sonya have been trying to understand
this event in which this wonderful, beautiful, talented,
accomplished, spiritual 16-year-old person has lost her life. It is
very hard for all of us to get our minds around, and I am feeling a
Messages of love and loss are written on
the metal of the guardrail, many looking forward to seeing Sonya
again in heaven. [click on photo for larger
The accident site has turned into a
shrine. There are many wonderful messages of love written on the
guardrail and on items left there. Apparently there are many others
who are also feeling that loss.
God bless you, Sonya Twist. You made
a difference in our lives, and we will be the poorer without you.
I too look forward to seeing you again in heaven.
Youngquist, tribute photos by Butch King]
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