Jamie Allen was selfless. She was kind, understanding, and she cared deeply about other people - she would rather listen to someone else's problem than talk about her own.
Family members remember the 19-year-old had a smile that would instantly light up a room. She shied away from the limelight, opting instead to be behind the camera. When she was caught in front of it though, her brother said she always looked beautiful.
Those and other fond memories are all that the Allen family have left after Jamie abruptly lost her life early Monday morning during a vehicle crash in Lantana. Her family assumes she was on her way home from a Super Bowl party when the crash happened.
"It's unbelievable that someone so amazing, someone so bright, could be taken away from us so soon," said Christopher Allen, Jamie's 24-year-old brother. "She was the most understanding person, with the most brilliant smile."
Jamie Allen, of Lake Worth, and three other teenagers were travelling in a 2005 Cadillac CTS on Broadway, just north of Hypoluxo Road about 2:55 a.m. Monday when the vehicle crashed into a tree, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said. The driver, Christopher Moffitt, 18, appeared to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol at the time, the sheriff's office said. He suffered minor injuries. The two remaining passengers, Lyndsey Rice, 18, of Lake Worth and Robert Stoddard, 18, of Lantana sustained serious injuries but are expected to survive.
Christopher Allen said his sister was preparing to chase her passion. She graduated from Santaluces High School last May and had taken a year off to decide what she wanted to do. He said she was planning to attend Palm Beach State College this fall to pursue her love for photography.
She loved taking pictures of anything she saw, Allen said. So much so that people nicknamed her "Kodak."
She loved giraffes, so she drew one on the back of her bedroom door. She wrote inspiring quotes on dry-erase boards in her room. Friends would stop by and write on the one behind the door. For her, life was all about one thing, her brother said.
"She wanted to love people, and she wanted to be loved."
"Everybody loved Jamie," Christopher Allen said. "She just made everybody lighter. Her ability to make everybody happy, it was incredible."
Allen said he, his older sister Micaela, their parents Cheryl and James, extended family and friends are heartbroken at the loss. He said they planned to have a candlelight vigil for Jamie 6 p.m. Tuesday. A memorial service will be held at Dorsey-Smith Memorial Gardens in Lake Worth Friday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and an open mic period will follow to allow loved ones to say things they were unable to because of the suddenness of Jamie's death.
"She was so inspiring," Allen said. "It was amazing to have her around for as long as we did."
Moving forward, Allen said it will be hard to know that his little sister, and all the qualities he loves about her, won't be around. One thing that has helped, he said, is having family, friends and well-wishers close by during this difficult time. And thoughts of what Jamie would say if she could keeps them going.
"The family is holding strong and we're doing the best we can," Allen said. If Jamie could, "she would tell us that she's safe now and she can't wait to see us again."
Published in The Palm Beach Post from Feb. 6 to Mar. 5, 2013