Sitting on a park bench at the Riverwalk my eyes settled on a young woman walking barefoot along the edge of the pond, periodically looking into the water. Her hair got my attention because it was a rich reddish blond. When lit by the sun it almost glowed. I followed her path until she was in front of the bench I was sitting on.
Roxanne and I exchanged greetings and she asked if she knew me, thinking I looked familiar. I told her no, but she might have seen my photo in the paper because I was a columnist. She sat down and we began a conversation that lasted well over an hour.
She said she had dropped out of school and had her first child at a very early age. She admitted that drugs and poor choices in male companions had influenced her life until recently when she dumped the negativity. Her immediate plans were to move to another town and get an education in cosmetology.
Having investigated several different paths to achieve oneness with her Creator, she felt she was spiritually enlightened. I hoped her personal growth was “real” and not induced by drugs.
During the course of our talk her two boys, 11 and 5, were amusing themselves without much supervision from their mother. She would occasionally ask the older boy where his brother was. This bothered me because her body was there, but her mind was elsewhere. I strongly suspected this was normal mothering procedure for her. I wondered if she realized how much her negative experiences had affected the lives of her children. Did she truly understand that she is a role model for them?
This young woman reminded me of another whose spirit had crossed my path. She was the same age and coloring as Roxanne and also dreamed of a career in cosmetology. Her education was interrupted when she discovered at about age 19 that she was expecting a child.
Soon after the birth of her daughter she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She lost her courageous battle for life two years later. Shaunualee never had the chance to raise her precious child. I believe if her spirit could speak to Roxanne she would say; “quit screwing around, take charge of your life and live every day as if it were your last because it could very well be!”
My post today is in memory of Shaunualee Brito 1979-2002, whose grave marker offers the message “Always Believe”.