The ONLY thing that matters.

The ONLY thing that matters.
 Over the weekend, I was devastated by the news that one of my former students was hit by a car walking home Friday night.  His name was D.  Through the years, I've taught some pretty amazing, wonderful, great kids.  But D was on the top of that list. The tippy top. All his friends, teachers, and fellow classmates would agree. 

D. Lewis & Melissa Camilleri
D and me before walking at graduation 2010

AVID  provides the social, emotional, and academic support for students from non-traditional college going backgrounds who show strong potential for success.  

In 2006, after a presentation about the program to several hundred squirrelly middle schoolers, I made my way to the parking lot.  I heard someone calling after me.
"Miss.  Miss!"  He ran toward me. "My teacher wouldn't let me out of class to hear the presentation, but you gotta put me on your list."  
"Oh yeah?" I said, eyebrows raised, cautiously impressed with the kid's tenacity. "Is it because your friends signed up for AVID next year, too?" 

"No way.  I'm serious about school.  I'm gonna go to college.  You gotta remember my name.  It's D."  

"Just D?" I said. 

"Yep.  D.  Look at my face. Remember me. D. LEWIS. Don't forget, K? Put me on your list. I gotta be in that class."

Throughout his four years at the school, it was that hustle I always admired about D. He had goals. He knew how to advocate for himself. He had an entrepreneurial spirit and dreamed big dreams. He was on his way to making a better life for himself and his future family. But most of all, D was very kind. He included everyone, even if they weren't his best friends. He knew how to make people feel welcome. That's not a trait common in high schoolers. 

He was my TA his senior year. He'd often come into my classroom and look through my iTunes, and just shake his head. "Mags, you need better music on here." So he wrote me a long list of songs I needed to download. "These will make you way cooler," he told me, giggling, poking fun.  

D's AVID teacher was my dear friend Chris. He did an amazing job helping guide this incredible young soul into a successful adulthood, acting as parent, counselor, advocate, and friend.  D kept him up to date on his successes--his final year of school, his job at a mortgage company, how things were going at his apartment, etc.  D was like a son to Chris.

Chris & D. Lewis
Chris and D

As I type this, my heart aches for the loss of a brilliant young man and his friends whose lives he touched so positively and in such a big way.  
AVID Counselors
Me, D, Chris, and Kara (his beloved AVID counselor) 

It's sometimes hard to open your heart to so many people.  People let you down.  People leave.  People hurt us. People die.  And the pain in that is astronomical.  

But to experience the enormity of joy there is to be had in our short time on earth, we must love anyway. 
The ONLY thing that matters
is how well we love.
Building relationships matters.  Loving whole-heartedly matters.  Giving someone hope for their dreams matters.
I am comforted by the words of a friend who said,  "I was once told that each person is sent here to either learn something or to teach something. Once their job is done they leave us.  [D] completed his mission, and as much as you all loved and respected him, I would say that HE was the teacher this time around. "

D. Lewis Graduation
D and Chris on Graduation 2010.
If I can suggest anything this week as far as soul care is concerned, it is to take the time to tell the people around you that you love them.  All of them.  Young or old.  Take more pictures. Record special moments in journals.  Make memories with the people who matter.  Because when they are not here, it will be these things that comfort your soul.
D. Lewis & Alysia
D and his sweet, beautiful girlfriend, Elysia. <3 (Keep her in your prayers.) 

I'm so grateful to have such fond memories of D. How comforting it is truly knowing he left this world certain of how much we all loved him and that we knew how much he loved us in return.  
Sending out prayers and love and light, especially to all those who are hurting in their own ways. May we continue to find ways to care for our souls and build one another up.

xoxo- Melissa 

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  • I just found your blog through the video on Flourish and Thrive Academy. I was intrigued by the words “expensive hobby…” For years I have been trying to build my biz, but I fear it’s become an expensive hobby. It seems I had better luck when I was a teen… Anyway, this was the first blog post I came across, and I just wanted reach out and share my heart with you. I am so sorry for your loss, and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that D had an amazing mentor and friend in you.

    Sending you all my best & brightest,

    Maria on
  • Hi, I have been seeing your name and products via B-school and wanted to check out your site. This story is sad beyond words. My heart is breaking for everyone who knew and loved this young man. Such a tragedy.


    Kari Hughes on
  • I just found your page through a blog that talked about your product. 10 years ago next Tuesday my fiance died in a car accident while at college. He was the most positive person to have ever entered my life. As I read your Soul Care I am brought to tears. Your friend’s comment and yours as well were needed more than I realized.

    Elysia has an extremely tough journy ahead of her. My prayers will definitely be with her and the rest of the people who love D. When I lost my fiance there was a lady who had walked that path before me. I made some of the same poor decisions that she made such as marrying a good man who I wasn’t in love with. If you think on it, please give my information to Elysia. I am an excellent listener and losing the love of your life can only be fully understood by someone who has been through it at such a young age as well.

    Thank you!

    augusta chauhan on
  • beautifully written, love u cousin.

    Kelly Smith on
  • I love You!

    Steve on

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