Knowing Alyssa Davis

Josh Pennell
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The mother of car crash victim wants you to understand who she was

Most of us would never have gotten to know Alyssa Davis. She was one person in a very big world.

Alyssa Davis

The only reason her name may ring familiar for a lot us is because in a moment that can only be imagined as chaos on Dec. 23 the car she was travelling in with three other people left the Conception Bay South highway and landed on its roof.  The driver was taken to hospital with critical injuries. The two people in the back had only minor ones. Alyssa was killed. If the violence of the crash is something we can only imagine, the silence that followed is something we would never want to.

We learn nothing about a lot of people who die this way. It’s a brief written to a media website full of empty police details or a radio news hit that comes before the local weather. Sometimes — because they were active in sports for instance such as in Alyssa’s case — some people speak about them to the media immediately following their death during a time when much of the family is too broken-hearted to do so. It gives us a very small glimpse into who they were.

It’s fewer than three weeks after her death when Alyssa’s mother — Sherree — opens our eyes into who her daughter was.

Alyssa was active. Active not just physically but socially. She was involved with the mental health council at her school. She was on the safe grad committee. She participated in such events as the Slutwalk — a march calling out for an end to rape culture.

“She was always there to make sure that somebody who didn’t have anything would get it,” her mother says.

Alyssa was shy.

“Most people thought she was outgoing because she would push herself,” says Sherree.

“Actually she was a very shy girl.”

Alyssa had anxiety. Sometimes she didn’t know how much people thought of her.

“She thought she had no friends,” says her mom.

“Little did she know.”

Alyssa was bullied.

“She cried many times over that.”

She was also brave.

“She would be the one who would tell people off if they were picking on someone else.”

Alyssa didn’t let her shyness define her.

“Shy people usually pick something,” her mother says.

“You stand out, but you don’t want to stand out. You don’t want to be like everybody else, but to be your own person. She was very much her own person.”

Alyssa expressed herself through her style.

“Something funky, something short. Whatever ... Alyssa always wore what she wanted to wear.”

Alyssa was sick. She had very bad allergies and asthma. She had gone the Janeway many times for oxygen. Her parents got her in swimming to help increase her lung function.

“That was my part. Her part was she just loved swimming,” her mom says.

Alyssa loved music.

“She never went anywhere without her music.”

Her favourite singer was Justin Bieber. She had a lifesize poster of him in her room.  

“When she got a little bit older she had to hide the fact that she was a Justin Bieber fan,” says Sherree.

Her parents fought for hours with the church to have Justin Bieber play as the last song at Alyssa’s funeral. She had her music device with her when she had her accident. It was found in the car and still works.

“I’ll be going down the road now all by myself listening to the crappy music,” her mother says.

“I was going to throw out the lifesize poster and now I can’t.

Alyssa was applying to universities. The universities that she contacted are now emailing her back. She wanted to be a nurse or maybe an addictions councillor. She also liked pediatrics. Alyssa wanted to help others.

“What people should remember most about her was that she cared about people. More than anything.”

On her Facebook page with a photo of herself Alyssa quoted author Gayle Forman and wrote “Love, it never dies. It never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it. Love can make you immortal.”

Alyssa was 17 years old.

Geographic location: Conception Bay

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Recent comments

  • Jeanette
    January 12, 2016 - 10:38

    so sorry for your loss! What a beautiful tribute to your daughter! It is true the news give a two minute brief news flash of a accident ...I didn't know her..but just reading your tribute.i would of wanted to meet her.. She seems like she was a very kind hearted sole...just remember your daughter will always be in your heart. I know the hurt will never go away but maybe not today or a few weeks from will see something that will remind you of her and just for one brief moment it will bring a smile to your face...but she will always be close to you..and is your guardian angel....

  • Ed Hynes
    January 12, 2016 - 01:29

    Sorry for your loss my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family it's so tragic to see young life taken away so early before their time god never gives reasons we just take for granted he has a purpose in mind and needed our loved one , time,family,and friends help us to heal it's never easy it just helps us heal may you find some comfort and may Alyssa rest peacefully. We lost one of our granddaughters at 8 and a half months old you'll never forget just cherish our time together it will help the healing

    January 11, 2016 - 20:58

    Alyssa was so right . It is all about love and the many forms thereof , Love and Prayers Anne Hennessey. Your Nan's old friend.

  • brot
    January 11, 2016 - 18:30

    Wow this is so sad D:

  • Paula
    January 11, 2016 - 18:05

    Your daughter was loved by so many.....I didn't know her but I have been drawn to her story and reading all the loving posts. She has a beautiful soul. I remember reading the horrific news Xmas eve morning and I haven't been able to stop thinking of you since. I'm so sorry for your loss.......I too have a 17 year old daughter, free spirited and fun loving.........all through Xmas I couldn't help but feel guilty and blessed at the same time knowing you had just lost your child. My heart breaks for you:(:(:( She will never be forgotten, even to those who didn't know her. God bless

  • Marilyn crotty
    January 11, 2016 - 16:56

    As a mother of three. My heart aches for you .As I read about your daughter I get a sense of what a beautiful person she was.You can be sure her spirit will always be near.God love you and all your Family

  • anonymous
    January 11, 2016 - 14:42

    I went to school with her, last year. We weren't close. A friend of mine was closer to her than I was, and occasionally she and her friends would stop in the hallways and have a chat with us. I never liked school, and i didn't have very many friends, and thinking back, Alyssa would pass me in the hallways and stairwells, and rather than keep walking like the majority of people do, Alyssa would stop and give that bright smile of hers that made me feel significant. She would pause on the stairs and turn toward me as I was walking by, just to smile and greet me. She would do this whenever she saw me. Honestly, in my mind, I thanked her every time she did this. I felt less alone. It was a little gesture that really made me feel better those days.

  • Carolann Riggs
    January 11, 2016 - 14:12

    As a mom who is approaching the fourteenth anniversary since I lost my daughter, I have to say.... Keep that poster for as long as you can listen to that music whenever you want as it will bring a lot of comfort Quote those words often that she left on her facebook....she left them for a reason. Life will become a new normal but their memories, love, and their smiles will forever live in our hearts and in the hearts of others. A special Angel and you wrote such special words about her. Gone too soon but left an imprint on the hearts of many. God Bless

  • Mom of An Angel
    January 11, 2016 - 13:33

    A parents fear after losing a child is that they will be forgotten. Also knowing many people have lost the chance of knowing them. I understand, I wanted the world to know my son and what a beautiful life he was. Thank you for sharing a little of Alyssa with us. Beautiful soul.

  • Theresa power
    January 11, 2016 - 13:20

    So sorry for your loss quite the tribute to your daughter hold her dreams close to your heart

  • jacqueline hawkins
    January 11, 2016 - 11:24

    my grandson knew your daughter and he said she was a very nice girl he was so upset when he heard the news he also lives in cbs i think he went to school with her

  • Richard Cranium
    January 11, 2016 - 08:59

    A tremendous young person who had so much to accomplish in life and had the ability to do so much for mankind, is gone far too young. Such a tragedy for family and friends. My condolences to all.

  • Mike
    January 11, 2016 - 08:20

    Thank you for writing this. Sadly, all too often we hear the two-minute news story and move on to other things. You made this beautiful young woman more than a news story, more than a statistic; you made her a person. Someone who was loved and who loved. You let everyone know that she had hopes and dreams; and that she was important to so many people. My condolences to her family and friends. I am sure Ms Davis will live on in their hearts.

  • Mary
    January 11, 2016 - 07:31

    Alyssa was my daughter's close friend. She was the most amazing person. I will never forget her smile. She was always smiling. We miss her so much.

  • Usinger
    January 11, 2016 - 07:21

    What a beautiful, caring human being. Rest in peace Alyssa. The world needs more Alyssas.

  • lucy
    January 11, 2016 - 05:57

    Sending much love, prayers and positive thoughts! Her spirit remains and this story is an inspiration. Life is unknown... Love eachother...