Sunday, October 14, 2007

Aleigh Mills: A Tribute

FUNNY HOW THINGS WORK. I posted an entry on a women I didn't actually know but whose murder spoke to me in a spiritual place. About a month ago, a reader sent me an email after reading that entry that I'm posting in its entirety below:

I just came upon your blog from Google as I was (as many times have) was looking for info on Aleigh's murder. I wish you had met her because your thoughts are right on the money and I admire you for your compassionate insights.

I knew Aleigh pretty well a few years ago. I was a permanent substitute teacher at the middle school she attended in Stratham, NH. I have a son who was in the same grade and was friendly with her. They competed on different basketball teams but had a friendly rivalry.

To say Aleigh lit up a room is a gigantic understatement. She was the room!! She was constantly loud, laughing, the center of any group with a big smile on her face.

This middle school was 99.9% white and she was the 1%!! Twice Aleigh let me know she was insecure about this and did not like being in such a stark minority. She once half-kiddingly accused me of picking on her because she was black. The truth (and she knew) was she was very boisterous and had to be told to quite down. Another time was basically the same with a different teacher.

The day last summer I found out she was murdered It was meant to happen. I was sitting going thru the news channels at 6 pm (we live near Maine, Mass and in NH) so I sometimes flip thru all. But not so much Maine I will go to unless I am searching for weather (which is alot of their newscast). The news immediately went to a story about a young girl found murdered in Northern Maine named Alexandra Mills. I was doing something else and was only listening and I put my head up and thought: hmmm that sounds familiar. But the story was about a murder!! So as I watched they showed a basketball team of UMaine players and there in the back was a black girl - Oh My God!! I got goose bumps right away and called up the stairs to my son to come down immediately. I said: Look Corey it's Aleigh Mills and they are saying she has been murdered!!! Awe knew it was her,( especially on a basketball team ) and going to UMaine was right also because Aleigh was an excellent student (she hated math though and struggled with it) and we knew she would be at a university. And you could not deny her big, smiling face in the back of the team. Which I believe she was captain of, which makes perfect sense. She would have the most spirit you knew and was a natural leader also.

I felt so sick to my stomach and my son, who is not jaded yet by violence at all, was obviously shaken.How could someone Soooooooo alive and happy be dead?? Who could do this?? My son and me had recently drove by her beautiful house in Newfield's, NH and my son was wondering where she was and doing what. THAT is a impact she had. Even though we had not seen her in years (5) you would never forget her.

I hope this is not too long, it is a release for me to write this and also a tribute to her. I also thought the same thing: black, adopted and murdered. I take comfort in knowing she was happy and had some fulfilling/fun times in her short life.I still would like to know how she died but of course I kind of know (beaten?). I can still see the father coming in to watch her play basketball games. He was crippled and on a cane. He must be a special person for obvious reasons

One last thing: after her murder alot of my son's friends IM profiles said RIP AM. She left this area after the 8th grade, 5 years earlier. If you met her you would never forget her. I hope wherever she is, she is laughing and flirting with the boys. Shine on Aleigh you crazy diamond.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I met Aleigh Mills once when I was visiting Kent's Hill to see a friend. Her dorm was across the hall and she was so spirited. She was up beat and positive and I couldn't believe how nice she was for just meeting me. Her energy was welcoming. I say her a couple months later at a clothing store and I never said hello because I was afraid she wouldn't remember me. I feel bad now that shes gone because Aleigh seemed to be a girl you wanted to approach, fun and full of life. Almost 3 years later and I still can't believe shes not here even thought I only met her once, I can still feel her kindness and hear the happiness that was Aleigh Mills.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad to me. Any of you that knew Aleigh in High School had to know about her encounters with Seeds of Peace. This is where I was able to meet this wonderful women. It was her second year at camp and it was my first year. She was apart of Maine Seeds and I was apart of Beyond Borders working on the Arab American culture conflict. I meet her my first day at camp and from that day on Me, Aleigh, Leah, and Natasha were inseperatable from that day onto the end of camp. Today I just got the Olive BRanch from Seeds which updates us on what Seeds of Peace is doing. I flipped to the back page and it hadin Memoriam of Aleigh Mills. The tears started rolling down my face. the last time I was in contact with her was about two years ago I called her at her house and I had the last conversation I would ever have with this wonderful woman. She had such an impact on my life and will never be forgotten. I love you Aleigh

Anonymous said...

Donna Mills, Aleigh's mother taught me and both of my brothers at Newmarket Elementary school. She was a huge part of our childhoods and was pretty much a part of the family. Aleigh was often in the classroom and always stood out in my memory because she was so beautiful and funny. This is devastating I cant imagine the pain mrs. mills is feeling...Rest in Peace Aleigh

Anonymous said...

I don't know how long ago this was to you (2007 i believe, but it sticks for ahwile). ali was one of my best friends, and her murderer was a mutual friend of ours with whom the two of us had spent many long hours. i just wanted to let you know that, as i was looking up her name (which i do time and again) and i just wanted to let you know that tonight it warmed my heart to read what you'd written about her.

god bless you.

Anonymous said...

Aleigh was my daughter's best friend, and 3 years later she remains so close to her heart that she recently asked for a heart pendant inscribed with Aleigh's name on it.