I met Ambrosia the very first day that I went to Whittier Elementary. Ruth brought her to the reading room for an Early Steps reading session. I immediately felt a connection with her. She had a smile from ear to ear and she was so excited to learn. After she went back to her classroom Ruth explained to me that she was the lowest student in terms of her reading skills in the first grade. The next time I went I was able to sit in on another lesson with Ambrosia. Even after just one day she was already improving. She was starting to recognize her letters and sounds more clearly than even the day before. After she returned to class Ruth had informed me that the reason she was so low was because she had missed most of Kindergarten due to struggles in her home-life. It broke my heart hearing about what she had been going through .
I heard that one of the first grade teachers needed help in the classroom, so I volunteered for the position. When I walked in the classroom and saw Ambrosia sitting there with her two best friends I was so excited that I was going to be able to work with her some more. She was a little more outgoing in her classroom and it was really fun to see her with her friends. She was so sweet and so excited to learn. I spent the next couple months helping Cami in her first grade classroom. It was so much fun to see Ambrosia’s amazing improvement in such a short time. She was so full of life and so sweet and kind. Everyday when I would walk into the classroom she, along with a few others, would run up to me and give me great big hugs. I love when I walk into that classroom and the children greet me this way. It makes me feel like I am making a difference in their lives.
I heard about the accident on Wednesday March 14th. I was just sick about the story on the news. A mother and daughter doing everything right trying to cross the street were hit by a car and they were both in critical condition and they did not expect the child to survive. It made me sick to my stomach because I could not imagine this happening to my niece who is the same age as Ambrosia when she passed away. The next day I was having dinner with my boyfriend and I brought up the story again, I could not shake the effect this news story had on me. I was emailing Cami the next day about when I was coming into the class and she emailed me back the horrible news. She had informed me that Ambrosia was the child who was hit by the car and that she had passed away the night before. I literally read and re read that email four or five times before I actually let it sink in. I immediately started bawling and I could not believe it was true. I had seen her just a couple days before and she was so full of life. My heart hurt so badly I did not know what to do. My heart hurt for her mother, her family, Cami, all of the children and staff and Whittier elementary. But, most of all my heart hurt for this beautiful little girl who’s life was wripped away from her because someone was in too big of a hurry to pay attention while she was driving. After crying for a few hours I started to feel so angry. I was angry because it wasn’t fair. I was angry because that person that was not paying attention just took Ambrosia’s life away. I didn’t really know how to deal with the feelings I was feeling. I contacted Cami and told her I would be in the classroom everyday the next week to help her. She emailed me back and let me know there was a candlelight vigil going on that evening at the site of the accident. I knew that I needed to go, and it was so heartbreaking. Seeing all the children from the classroom and all of her family was extremely hard.
On Monday of the next week I was so nervous walking into the classroom. I knew that seeing the little faces of all of Ambrosia’s friends was going to be really hard. I just threw myself into the needs of the children. I answered their questions, we remembered Ambrosia and all of the wonderful things that she did. It was definitely a day of healing for me. I spent the rest of the week helping in the classroom. That weekend I attended the funeral services and said goodbye to Ambrosia. Seeing her tiny body affected me more than I could have ever imagined. She was just so little and so helpless, it made me feel so small and insignificant to this life. The services were beautiful and Cami gave an amazing talk.
Honestly the number one thing I have learned from this whole experience is that you cannot take one day or one moment for granted in your life. I have to live each day as if it is my last, I have to play with my daughter when she wants to play. I have to hug and kiss her every chance I get. We are not promised tomorrow but, we can control how we spend our time today. There is no doubt in my mind now that I want to become a teacher. There is no doubt in my mind that Ambrosia came into my life for a reason. She taught me to never forget to tell all of your loved ones that you love them everyday. She taught me to NEVER text and drive and to ALWAYS pay attention while I am driving. She taught me to be a better and more attentive mom. She taught me how to live. I will never forget her and the impact she had on my life. Her smile will always remind me of what is really important in this life.
Thank you Ambrosia for letting me be apart of your life. Thank you for teaching me to to be patient, kind, and to never take anything for granted. You will be missed by so many people.