A significant experience that I have faced that has not only had a great impact on me but my family as a whole, occurred when I was only six years old. It was August 2, 2002 when my brother Thierry died, at the same age I am now. I used to truly believe it didn’t affect me because I was too young to completely understand, but as I grew up I realized what a devastating moment that was for me.
I remember it was just the two of us home that day, my parents were at work and I’m assuming my sister was either with friends or at work being summer time. Therefore he was left with the duty to watch over me. I don’t remember much that day before the incident happen, but I remember that once he went in the bathroom he did not come out. It just so happened on that day, my father came home early. He asked me if I had taken my bath. I told him that Thierry had instructed me to wait in the living room until he came out of the bathroom to give me my bath. Sensing something could be wrong, my father tried to open the bathroom door but could not. He then called 911 and EMS came. When the door was finally opened, my brother had already gone.
I was instantly brought to one of my neighbor’s apartments, where an elderly woman named Shirley played cards with me. I later found out that my brother had committed suicide in that same bathroom.
My family was racked with grief from day in and out following his death. I remember my mother lying on his bed, inconsolable in disbelief saying he’d come back. I felt out of place in the grief until finally the day of the funeral came and people who were there to comfort us only brought tears to my eyes. After that point, anytime I ever felt extremely down, almost depressed I’d wonder if this was the reason why he chose to leave this world. Between college, money troubles, friendships, relationships, and high family expectations I wonder how any one person is meant to bear with it all and wish it too would all end. Then I’d think about him, and how I could and would not let these pressures and worries consume but fuel me.
I, Ashley Lamarre, choose to persevere; to overcome the obstacles life readily throws at me and to only prepare for more. I refuse to crumble under statistics and fears knowing God has made me into a strong woman and has a plan for me. Though I may breakdown sometimes and tears may even fall I will always choose to stand up again. I’m going to college to not only open my eyes to new things but to be molded into an individual with passion for what she wants to do with her life. I will not only be making my family and friends proud in what I choose to do, but I’ll be making myself proud and prove to myself no blows can crush my spirit and that being unsuccessful or unhappy is not an option.
My brother’s death is something I’ll never completely understand and only scarcely cope with. I look back and wish that I could have been that wise six year old to tell him that he could get through whatever trials he was experiencing and prevent him from sinking towards such a desperate act of escape. Still through his death, I’ve learned it isn’t over until you allow it to be, and I’ll speak into the world and say I refuse to let it be over.
BY ASHLEY LAMARRE
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ashley Lamarre is the author of this essay, which was submitted with her successful application for a Spring Creek Towers College Award Program 2014 scholarship. She received a scholarship of $2000 annually, which will be available while she earns her undergraduate degree at Lake Forest College in Illinois. She is also the recipient of Lake Forest College’s Disque Deane Scholarship, which is awarded in honor of Deane. He was the founder and general partner of Starrett City Associates. A college freshman, Lamarre is exploring her study options but is strongly considering becoming a double major in Psychology and another subject. She graduated from Midwood High School.