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FROM READERS: Douglass High student finds motivation through loss of best friend

Thursday, January 26, 2012 | 4:47 p.m. CST; updated 3:17 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 2, 2012

Matyia Tucker, a Douglass High School student, shared her story about how she found motivation through the loss of her best friend and classmate, Lateshia Jordan, at MyMissourian.com. We were so moved by it that we'd like to share it in its entirety here.

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In Matyia Tucker's own words

My name is Matyia Tucker and I’m a sophomore at Douglass High School. My best friend Lateshia Jordan’s life was taken at the age of 18 caused by an accident that took place along Blue Ridge Street.

As the days went by my grief was getting worse and worse instead of better. Everything just felt like it was building up which made me less social, not caring about school, and just careless about life itself. One day I just sat down in my journalism class with nothing to type. I couldn’t think of anything to write about because nothing was on my mind except Tee. This article came from the heart, I love you Lateshia K. Jordan.

I’m sitting straight up. My back is pinned against the back of the red fluffy couch. I look at her and she looks at me. It’s obvious that she is waiting for me to feel comfortable enough to say something first. I mean that’s the only reason why I’m here in the first place.

I’m thinking to myself, why aren’t you doing your job? You’re the one that needs to ask me questions, try to get to know me or something. I don’t understand the true definition of psychology but I have watched a lot of TV shows and they’re supposed to talk first. We literally look at each other for five minutes straight until she finally asks why I’m here.

I already know she wants me to just admit my problem so while I stare into her bold hazel eyes I try to think of a million ways to word it. I’m looking down at my blue toenails trying to hold back the tears but when I think about her, my eyes automatically assumes the position and brings out the tears. I look up at Dr. Matthews and say, “My best friend is gone, and she’s never coming back.” A tear drops down to my nose while we sit there in silence.

Lateshia K. Jordan also known as my Tee Pot. Brown, smooth skin, eyes always squinted to the point where you can’t ever see the color of her eyes. Her hair always done in thick, black curls, and if it wasn’t, you would always see her with a polo hat on or her favorite Mizzou cap saying, “My hair is coo, its coo!” it would always make me laugh because she knew her hair was not on point.

You never saw Tee without a smile. Her smile brightened up her whole face, straight white teeth. It was the biggest feature I loved on her face. She was so short and small. All the times I would let her drive my Blazer she would always have to push the seat so close to the steering wheel. It would be funny because she could barely see over the headboard.

Her voice brought out the best in her. I honestly don’t know how to describe it but if I had to I would say she sounds like a little three year old with that soft innocent voice that made everyone say, “Awwwwwwww.” In life I’ve always tried to stand out from the crowd. I tried not to be just like everyone else, but with Tee there was no trying to it. She stood out with everything she did.

Dr. Matthews stares. She’s writing a few things down onto her paper. She looks up and asks, “Why was… I mean is… Tee so special to you?” I heard this question before. Tee wasn’t just a friend to me because I felt she was so much more.

When I turned fifteen I started going through a lot of different challenges. My mom and I would constantly argue and bump heads so I would go back and forth to and from my grandmother’s house. My grandmother would take me in but there wasn’t really much she could do for me other than provide shelter. I didn’t know how I was going to come up with money for new school clothes or anything else since I knew my mom wasn’t going to give me any money.

I told Tee everything. Anything that popped into my head was always in a text to Tee. We would constantly text each other every day about random things. Even when we were using the bathroom she would always text me, “I’m sitting on the toilet. What are you doing?” I could tell that girl my whole life and trust her with every piece of it.

One day out of nowhere she texted me, “Matyia, I got you a job once you hit sixteen.” I always talked about my family problems with Tee because I knew she always had the right things to say. She is 18 years old so of course she’s been through her ups and downs with family also. Happy wouldn’t be the word to describe my emotion I felt when I saw the text, but tears literally flowed down the line marks of my face as I formed a smile. I was more than happy to think that someone actually listens to me and takes time out of their life to fix mine.

It’s September now, and I have four more months until I’ll be eligible to work at Five Guys where she worked before she died. I haven’t taken a step inside Five Guys since Tee died and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to.

After Tee’s death I decided I didn’t want to attend school anymore. I really didn’t want to do anything with my life at all. I felt as if her life ended then my life should come to an end too. I never thought of suicide or anything I just didn’t want to be happy. I refused to be happy when my Tee was dead.

I didn’t want to break the news to my grandmother about school because she would be so disappointed in me so I just decided to keep coming up with excuses not to come. I didn’t attend school for about three weeks until Tee appeared in my head, she hit me. Dr. Matthews asked me question after question after question and after every question I became more annoyed. Why are you asking me if I miss her? Why are you asking me if I care? This counseling isn’t helping or changing my depression.

Can you imagine waking up to your big brother or sister one morning then the next day they’re gone? They didn’t just go off to college or went on a vacation with a few friends; instead they got into a huge car accident and lost their life. Can you imagine that? I didn’t just lose a friend; it feels like I lost the other half of me.

I can’t be the same Matyia without her. This has a huge hold on my life just because it’s a lesson learned. I learned to cherish your surroundings because life isn’t promised the next day. Don’t argue with your best friend over something little because it’s unnecessary and you’ll soon regret it.

Lateshia K. Jordan motivates me. She is the reason I wake up in the morning to start my day and the reason I carry on with the best of my ability. I realized that she wouldn’t want me acting like this or even feeling this way. She would want me to be happy and successful, so that’s what I plan to do.

Lateshia is in a better place now and I have to face the fact that she is never coming back. She would want the best for me and I would hate to disappoint her. I need to focus on my life so I can become something and make her happy. That’s the least I can do after all the things she accomplished to help me find myself.

A note from the Missourian staff: The driver suspected of causing the September car crash, which claimed the lives of Jordan and another passenger, was arrested in October on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and involuntary manslaughter.

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