My heroes (written 04102015)

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 21:26 -- haemerd



Why must all my idols be taken from me?



adoring your grandmother, then


she’s gone.

I was ten, and barely understood

the pain

of death, loss, grief, anguish…

I was confused and upset:

How can this be? I wondered,

Was Grandma not fit to live?



the girl at the rink

who’s five years older than you, and is

flexible, gorgeous, funny, and talented.


she decides to quit skating

and, not long after,

life itself.

I was thirteen, yet

I felt transported back

to he days of Grandma’s death,

only this time

no one understood.

No one knew just how much Alyssa




No one knew

that I wanted to skate like her –

no, BE like her –

like a plant that needs sunlight to thrive.

No one understood that I would have jumped as high as she wished

just to prove I was worthy of

her respect.

How could she leave me in this world without an older sister?

I needed her, but no one could comprehend how I felt

and no one ever will…



coming into a large school

an insignificantly small seventh grader:

as impressionable as foam,

as skidish as a frightened animal,

as innocent as a daisy,

when the principal

of the entire school

stops by your class

to shout to you “happy birthday!”

The principal who

brought back the fight song,

gave out prizes for the most spirited,

encouraged our school community

to bond and have pride in our amazing school.

The principal who continued to stride

down the hallways

giving out “hello!”s and hugs

even after he was diagnosed with

Stage IV colon cancer.

The principal who inspired us all to be

not only good citizens

but also confident and loving individuals.

The principal who

held on to his position

with nerves of steel

and a smile of sunshine

until two weeks before he


I was sixteen

and heartbroken.

He wasn’t gone,

I told myself,

no way. Not Mr. T,

my hero,

my source of laughter,

my friend.

Curiously, I found

that everyone at school feels the same way


being teenagers,

are too cool to admit it.

They’re too cool to express their grief,

too cool to cry.

How can we understand

each other if

no one acts?

We all say Hayfield isn’t the same

without Dave Tremaine,

but why not say

“that makes me sad”?

Why do we all


on nods of sympathy with


a pat on the shoulder?

Are we scared

to admit that maybe,

just maybe,

the leader of our beloved school

changed our lives?

Dare I add, for the best?

If I could only

see his smile,

hear his voice singing the fight song off-key,

feel the pleasant aura of his presence






Watching the news

and hearing a tale

about a remarkable student

who is terminally ill with

brain cancer. But despite this

she is attending school;

despite this, she is on her varsity basketball team;

despite this,

she played in the season opener

and scored.

She continued to score

points for her team,


even before the game had ended,

she had won.

Lauren Hill won

the hearts of the spectators,

the respect from the opposing team,

the love of her home city,

the admiration of a certain teenage athlete.

Lauren Hill advocated

for pediatric cancer research and

for brain cancer patients, but most importantly,

she spoke out about not giving up,

staying true to your dreams,

and appreciating


Lauren died today.

She had the strength

of three tons of steel.

She had the courage

of a soldier.

She had the heart



of Lauren Hill.


How difficult it must be

to thrive

as though every day

cannot possibly be your last!

The confidence, beauty, and kindness

of Lauren, Mr. T, Alyssa, Grandma,

and countless others

could cause the solar system

to burst at the seams.


Why are these angels my idols?

I grew up with Grandma and Alyssa;

their deaths

pierced my heart with reality.

I chose Mr. T and Lauren to aspire to

because I was old enough

to seek out valuable heroes

and model myself after them like an artist

that yearns to create the perfect flower pot,

for, after all, the flower cannot grow without a pot.

Their deaths

caused earthquakes in my mind,

for they seemed so perfect,

like undisturbed pools

that shine with the light of heaven

and incessantly nurture their inhabitants.

For when they ceased to live,

I was forced to acknowledge


how old you are matters not

how physically fit you are matters not,

how educated you are matters not;


our actions and decisions –

indeed, our way of life –

are the most important.

The people

we inspire

will continue our work long after we are gone.


My heroes, mentors, and teachers

shall never truly die,

for I intend to carry

the story of their lives,

the meaning of their actions,

the pain of their death

with me.


Grief if a motivator,

a catalyst for action,

a material that is hard to shape


when done correctly,

can yield a beautiful


The power of their message,

the rawness of their story of pain and fortitude,

lifts the spirits of others.

The survivors must

be strong enough

to pass on the vital message

of the truly great


that were not chosen to live.


Why must all my idols be taken from me?

So I can learn what the true value

of having idols is.

Their stories must be told.

The body might fail,

but the heart

lives on.


I hope you enjoy reading this poem as much as I did writing it!

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