This past year my aunt, my mother’s sister, passed away very young at age 45. Her passing devastated me and my family. The thought that kept entering my head was there’s no way this could happen to me. Tragedies, catastrophes, and other huge losses have never affected me so directly.

Then, in one of my English classes we began to read a book Beyond Katrina, which detailed the destruction of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Reading about these people who lost so many family members so suddenly and so young just broke my heart in ways I had never understood until now. The same thought was most likely going through their heads, this can’t be happening to me.

It was at this time that I realized that we really are all in this together. Death and loss is a tragic thing, but it brings people so much closer and that is the most human thing I have ever felt. It was so beautifully sad.

– Madison Forrest (Student)