Don’t be afraid.

Throughout life, we experience many hardships and tragedies, that balance out with our triumphs.

And through all of those, we have people that cheer us on, and provide us with the support we need.

The worst hardship is the passing of one of those supporters.

One of my mentors passed away today.

Louisa created a home away from home. She took me in under her wing when I needed it most. I was 3,000 miles from home, suffered an emotionally devastating break-up, and was floundering for guidance.

I grew under her mentorship. I started to call her mom whenever I saw her around campus, or in my visits to her office. Over my first summer at school, I spent many hours in her office. Sometimes we would talk about the news, or laugh about a hilarious sketch by Wanda Sykes. But my favorite conversations and memories will be when we got to talk about life.

She bestowed such wisdom on me.

One thing I will always carry with me was when I was taking photos for a project on campus called Humans of SNHU. I asked Louisa if I could take her photo, and interview her. She said yes.

Me: “What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?”

1557181_924227320930090_4533741340999707590_oLouisa: “Don’t be afraid. That would be those words because when you’re ten, you’re facing this whole world that people have told you about, but you don’t know if its true or not true. And they, in also telling you about it, told you all the things that you have to do, or become, or be like. And if you’re ten, if you’re really ten, its overwhelming. And you get scared. And then you start, I think, withdrawing and thinking ‘I can’t do any of that.’ Not understanding that you have choices and options, etc. And all of it doesn’t come at one time, you know. Blah blah blah. You’re ten. You just finished maybe putting down the Barbie doll, and you’re moving into this realm where you’re a pre-pre-teen but you’re not a teen. And it could be pretty frightening. So I’d say, don’t be afraid. Don’t be scared. I think a lot of things that I might have done when I was ten, I didn’t, because I was a little timid and just a bookworm. And people made me feel like that was a bad thing. I got overwhelmed with all the things that they told me I should do, could do, wanna do, and it just made me withdraw even more. So I’d say don’t be afraid, it’s not what you think it is.”

Thank you for your wisdom, Louisa. Myself and the others that you mentored have suffered a deep loss.

I’ll strive to not be afraid in everything I do.

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