By Allii Fontaine
Distinguished Young Woman of Rhode Island for 2011
I have always been a happy-go-lucky person that kept the glass half full and a smile on my face. I do what I can for other people and would fall up the stairs on purpose to make someone laugh…and yes…I’ve done it. But sometimes, things happen that make you wonder what you did to have them happen to you. You say to yourself, “If I am such a happy person, how could this happen?”
This past Wednesday, my Memere passed away. I go to school 5 hours away and it was quite a shock when I got the phone call after my first class Wednesday morning. I was just home for February break and had spoken to her on the phone 2 days before. She was fine.
My Memere was the kindest and happiest woman I had ever met. She always cooked for me and my family, did puzzles like it was her job, and was so proud of every single one of her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. I could not have asked for a better and more loving Memere.
But when I found out she had died, the shock hit me like knife. I could not understand why this was happening. Why now? I was coming home Friday for my Distinguished Young Women State program…I could have spent more time with her. I could have told her one last time that I loved her so much and she changed my life for the better.
And then I sat in my bedroom clutching one of her favorite blankets and thought about it for a while. My Memere was so smart. She did everything knowing that something better would come of it. She always tried to make sure her family was happy and together. But Memere was also very comical when she wanted to be. Her timing was effortless.
Her death was perhaps one of, if not, the saddest thing that has ever happened in my life. But for the first time in years, our family will have all of its missing members. My cousin will be here from Tennessee with both of her sons, and I will be home from school. Sure she won’t be here, but she’s watching over all of us because us being together is what she always wanted.
Terrible things happen to amazing people. It’s a fact of life. But sometimes things happen for a reason. My Memere was my favorite person in the entire world and I would do anything to see her and tell her I love her one last time, but I know she’s up there smiling because she accomplished her one goal: bringing her family together.
So maybe things don’t always go your way, and I can guarantee in high school and college that things will go wrong. But just remember that things happen for a reason…a reason that something better will result from. Take a page from my Memere’s book and do everything with a purpose, so that when you look back on your life, you know you accomplished everything you could and everything you wanted.
I love you Memere <3
R.I.P Helene Fontaine 1/15/28-2/29/12
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