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Growing up in a single parent household was never easy. It was not until my sister, Shae, my father’s child, and I began to create a relationship that I truly begin to realize the effect my father’s absence had on me. She was always very fond of him, even though he was never in her life either. We would talk about him for hours on the phone; and how I wished he would come around. Just sometimes. As our bond grew stronger, the conversations about him ceased, simply because the hole in my heart, created by the absence of my father, had been filled. Shae was my father figure; she listened to and understood my struggles. She was the closest relationship I would have had with my father, and I was okay with that.

My eighth grade year was abruptly interrupted when I received a phone call from my grandmother. Fighting back tears, she told me Shae had been killed in a car accident. Shaking, trembling, and sobbing hysterically, could not accurately describe the amount of grief I experienced. Still numbed with grief, I was somewhat disturbed when my mom informed me the funeral, “would be held Saturday, so that you would not have to miss school.” But how could I possibly focus on school when the person I confided in the most, the person who supported all of my decisions, the person who helped me through hard times, my other half, was taken from me?

The next week was the hardest week I had ever faced. The concerned teachers at my school were eager to help; most of them gave me extensions for assignments or permission to leave class when I could not fight back the tears. However, my school’s rigorous academics, my lack of social skills during this time, and grief were all overpowering me. Although the funeral had passed, her absence had just started to take a toll on my everyday life. There was no one to call and tell about my day, no one to give me advice on how to respond to negative comments made in school; I was lost. Shae’s absence made me question my education route, whether or not I actually wanted to be successful as a person when she was never given the chance.

I convinced my mom that that school was not the place for me and that I could find my way in another school, a school that was not surrounded by academics and over achievers.

However, after a couple months of Volleyball and the birth of my new baby sister, I forced myself to pick up the pieces to my life. Shae was a huge part of my life, and I knew she would not be happy with me cheating myself out of the many opportunities I had going for me. She was one of the hardest working people I had ever known, and she believed in the power of education. She encouraged me to pursue my dreams and stay focused in school so that I would be successful. Now that I was a big sister, I knew I had to fill the role she had left behind. My sister needed my support and guidance, so with Shae in mind, I convinced myself that I would push like never before. Not only to excel in school but also to create better relationships with my teachers and my family. This realization was not easy and came with a great deal of thought, but I did it for Shae. She told me on many occasions that I was very lucky to be placed in an institute where my teachers wanted me to succeed; it is because of her I will graduate in June.

After my sister’s passing, the school’s Director of Multicultural Affairs was worried about my plans of switching schools. She knew how close Shae and I were, and she worried I would leave the school. She also knew that if I had decided to leave, public high school would not have benefited me as my current school still does. She understood that overcoming this obstacle would be extremely difficult, but it would empower me and help me grow. She and a couple of other teachers convinced me to stay. When she reminisces on this period in my life she says,”I have watched you grow a lot in the past five years. You have learned how to really be thoughtful of how your voice has power. I think that you have gained the maturity to continue to speak up for yourself and others but in a way that engages not hinders. I think your friends and family have probably seen a softer side of you and that softer side of you has strengthened your power to help others.” Shae’s loss destroyed my world; however, she left a challenge: be great. She was my biggest fan, and although she is gone, she will certainly not be forgotten. She is truly an inspiration to me, and my most remarkable and outstanding accomplishments I owe to her.





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Dacia.Thompson said...
Dec. 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm
I love this.
 
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