It was April 16, 2012, just another day of awakening to get ready for our family to head to school and work. Kisses were given out, my husband and daughter loads up in the truck to head to school and I get in my car headed to work. Little did we know that would be the very last time that we would see our daughter….alive.
Everyone gets home about 5:45. I had gone out to the clothesline to get in a blanket that I had hung out that morning, folded it up and was sitting on the back porch steps waiting on the dog to go to the bathroom. It was then that I heard this very loud noise, looked to my left and saw a dusting of smoke. I immediately went in the house and asked my husband, who was watching TV, if he heard that terribly loud noise. I then walked in our bedroom to put away the blanket.
She was gone and there was absolutely nothing that we could do to get her back. Our lives had been shattered forever. The root of Meagan’s death was bullying…..that awful, awful word that affects more and more people each and everyday. After Meagan’s death we found out that on the bus one of her friends noticed that she was not acting like her normal upbeat self and was very quiet. Her friend then asked her if she was okay and she said she was and then exited the bus. We also found out that Meagan had texted her cousin and told her that she was going to kill herself that evening.
To this very day, I am so upset that she did not contact us. If she had, I am pretty sure I would not be typing up this story right now. Meagan was such a bubbly, spirited child who was loved by all and played the trumpet in the Oglethorpe County March Band. She now fills the Heavens with her wonderful trumpet sounds.
I can’t express enough how important it is for people to Stand Up, Speak Out and Be Heard! Be the voice that someone who is depressed or suicidal needs to hear. All lives matter!
F.A.M.I.L.Y- forget about me, I love you. This is what family means to Rutgers.
And personally, I believe in it because my father proves it to me everyday. Those who are fortunate can say their family means the world to them…and this is my explanation.
In Jim Collins’s book Good to Great, he explains what he believes is a level 5 leader. He says that a level 5 executive is someone who “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”
My dad, or as I call him Daddy, is a master at perfectly balancing his personal humility and professional will for the sake of our family. Lets start with professional will. No matter how busy, how stressed, or how tired my father is, he drops everything in times of the family’s needs.
In high school, I competed with an all-star cheerleading team, which meant that every weekend was a trip to a new state. At the same time, my sister was on a competitive travel soccer team. In order to help my mother out, he came up with a plan. Every competition that was a long drive, my dad would drive me and my mother would go with my sister. This meant about a six-hour drive on Friday night and a six-hour drive home, through the very late hours of the Sunday evening and most often, early a.m. hours on a Monday.
When competitions were far enough to take a plane, he would always offer my mother to go, allowing her to always have the easier travel.
Going to college six hours from home gets pretty hard sometimes. When I want to surprise my mother and sister for a weekend, my father is at my school in exactly six hours to pick me up and bring me home. Six hours here, six hours back. And let’s not forget the twelve-hour trip to bring me back on Monday for classes. Professional will. A plan, an idea, a strategy.
Lets talk about the topic of travel soccer and all-star cheerleading again. Two passions that my sister and I acquired. One word that would always float in the back of our heads; expensive. Providing us with a great house, a surplus of toys at Christmas time, and endless amounts of food, my sister and I still knew our parents didn’t have a money tree in the backyard. Knowing the cost of these two activities, it was never a problem for my father. He truly wanted us to cherish what we loved, even if this meant money out of the family savings.
He financially extended himself to make sure he gave his children what they wanted. College, out-of-state college. Scary for my mother and I, but never a problem for my father. His mindset is always geared toward living in the moment. His optimism is what keeps him calm, cool, and collected and certain that the future is going to be bright.
Jim Collins describes the process of the window and the mirror: “Level 5 leaders look out the window to apportion credit to factors outside themselves when things go well, and if they cannot find a specific person or event to give credit to, they credit good luck.”
One of the main reasons my family is so passionate is because of my father. But he would never admit this. If you asked him why our family is the way it is, he would say because of his three girls. I guarantee he would look out the window and credit a million people and good luck before he credited himself, the person the credit really belongs to.
I am the luckiest girl in the world to call this man my father. I could easily go on and on about all the great things he does for our family. As soon as I submit this, I will probably think of a few more great examples I wish I added. I just want to say thank you to Jim Collins for being able to put in words the kind of leader my father is. I also want to say thank you to my father, for being the person you are everyday. My love for you is unconditional, and our family is truly blessed with you. Thank you for being my superhero.