for today is the day that i found out that this young girl passed away last week. and why is this sitting on my heart so profoundly --- because i once was her teacher and not just any teacher, but her health teacher. the teacher who taught about drug abuse and passionately told stories of my own friends who abused and suffered. i was the teacher who spoke to them one on one about the consequences and what life could be like without drugs. the teacher who told them that yeah life sucked sometimes, but we all have to struggle it's what makes us who we are. i was the teacher who stuck by my word to be the role model they needed and didn't experiment, i was the adult who faced adversity, poverty, & discrimination with strength and determination, not using & abusing all for the purpose of leading them in the right direction. i gave it my all that year, i put my heart and soul into them that year, i ripped my heart out and layed it on their desks for all of them to see that - yes life can be painful, but that they had two choices in this world - to be happy or to be miserable - and that drugs was not the answer. and though i didn't stick around for the years to come, now i wish i had, i had hoped that my words would have. and why now do i mention this, b/c it makes me reflect on what more could i have done. what more could i have said. truthfully we'll never know, none of us, but boy it makes you hold your loved ones a little closer knowing that somewhere deep down they might be struggling with something only they know. i truly adored this all smiles girl and to her family i pray that they find peace in all of this. and to her classmates i say to you: choose happy no matter what misery is going on around you. choose happy no matter what walls are crumbling. choose happy when nothing else seems to matter anymore. choose.happy. choose.happy. but do it on your own like i know you can. get through it, like i know you can. take the adventure like i know you can and bring others with you b/c the journey is not worth it without company in the end it won't matter if you won or lost, it will only matter if you got through it and helped others get through it as well. i went to HJH with the intention of making a difference in the world, changing it one student at a time, what i never realized was how much teaching them made a difference in me, it changed me, it made me believe in myself like i hadn't before, it made me - feel fulfilled and i miss that and i miss all of you. please if you are reading this all my fellow HJH students - please know that you are special to this world, so live like you are special - take care of yourselves.
may you rest in peace Brittany, the good Lord is by your side.