His Legacy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I think I have finally mustered up the courage to type out my thoughts and feelings on these past few days. Anthony Bash Vaeao, a wonderful friend, a brother, a son, an amazing football player, a student, a LEGACY, passed away Thursday May 17, 2012. Some say it was a heart attack, others a seizure, but no one will really know until the autopsy comes back. He was playing basketball with some friends, then collapsed, his whole entire life came to an end. It's just not fair. I had seen him that day smiling and happy as could be, he always was. No one could have suspected this was coming, no one could have predicted he would be taken from us so soon.

I met Anthony when I was a freshman. He transferred to Mission Hills from El Camino High school. The first time I ever saw him I couldn't believe my eyes haha, his Samoan roots definitely show. I walked out of my first period class and he was behind me. We exchanged a hello, his kind smile was so inviting. We were losing a lot of awesome football players since they were graduating seniors, but we were gaining this one. He had natural-born talent, our football coach wasted no time recruiting him to the team. Summer came and went, football season was of the essence. I returned to my school for my sophomore year. Third period rolled around and as I took a seat I noticed him, Anthony. The first week passed and I told my parents how this big Samoan boy in my class always messes with me and doesn't leave me alone. A week later, I told them he was one of my very best friends. Anthony has this charm, irresistible kindness, hilarious humor, the most incredible laugh you have ever heard, he always went out of his way to make your day. We spent that year laughing at how my teacher clearly resembled a toad, talking football and making bets of this week's score, messing around, playing jokes on each other, but mostly just enjoying each other's company.

Anthony impacted my life in such a positive way, as well as so many others. You could always count on him to give you a laugh, to provide a needed smile. His life ended too short, but he accomplished everything I want to be in just 18 years. He was everybody's friend, I don't think he had any enemies. Well... except for on Friday nights if you were the opposing team haha. Really though, he is loved by so many people from all over. We had a candlelight vigil for him Thursday night at our high school. The stands were packed. The use of the word packed is meant to be understood as full or crowded, but even that seems too light to describe everyone that was there to support his family, to honor his life. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. The class of 2012 graduates in but two and a half weeks. It won't be the same, but we will walk with pride and honor to you Anthony. Every step I take up to that stage will be for you, you came so close. Our school has drawn closer than I thought was possible, the community has reached out in unforgettable ways. The impact he had on so many is truly incredible.

Every one of us has a memory of Anthony. Those memories will live on in our hearts forever and ever. I think I'll share a few, after all he would want us to celebrate his life not mourn.

Anthony was a prankster, A jokester no doubt. I was walking out to the parking lot with him, Hunter and another friend. Anthony grabbed my keys and ran off to my car. He giggled the entire way as I yelled and demanded he come back and return my keys. He opened the door, oh no he wouldnt drive away I thought... Wait yes he totally would! He got in the driver's seat and turned the car on, at this point I was running towards him thinking somehow my 123 pound body could get his 300+ body out of my tiny car. Anthony had a little trouble fitting in the car. His solution? Well open the sunroof of course! His afro poured out of the sun roof and I stopped in my tracks laughing out loud. I let him drive around the parking lot, after all I got a great laugh out of it. Then he started doing donuts around me... kay buddy time to stop :)
Anthony always had to one up everyone. It was just in his competitive nature. My best friend Audrey has an entire bin of citric acid in her kitchen used for lemonade. Keep in mind, it looks a whole lot like sugar. We dared him to try and take a spoonful of the mix, knowing he wouldn't deny our request. He took the biggest spoon he could find and shoved a heaping spoonful into his mouth. His eyes widened, his lips puckered, now tears seemed to be falling from his eyes. Dustin and Reggie did the same, and the three boys tried to see who could keep it in the longest. They paced up and down the kitchen, they circled the house, they wouldn't give. Meanwhile us girls are laughing our heads off at their faces and how silly it was that nobody would give up. Long story short, Audrey had a bit of throw up on her porch for a little while. I think Anthony won.
Lastly, one night my dad had called me a bit panicked. He said our power was being shut off and he knew it was one of my friends. I looked around me, Vaeao was sitting right by me it obviously wasn't him. I told him my dad called and within minutes we arrived at my house. Anthony knocked on the door and as my dad answered he said, "uhm hello... I hear your power has been shut off. 911 emergency is here to your rescue." He told my dad he would scope out the area and find the culprit. It only took him 2 minutes to find the tandem bike and he had forgotten the whole reason we even came. Watching him ride around the neighborhood was definitely worth it though :)

I can't believe he is no longer with us. It's surreal, unfair, and heartbreaking. He was the pride, joy, and excitement of Mission Hills. He may be gone, but never forgotten. His legacy will live on forever.

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering” Ben Okri

All my love,
-Aleigh Joy

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