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