By Teresa Witucki
Death after life is known. Life after death is not.
Though Heaven’s songs may warm our hearts. Though Hell’s fire may burn our feet.
To wonder- to wonder, as the world is torn asunder.
Do the rulers of these lands think other grass is greener?
If the fires of Hell reach the Heavens.
As you walk down the rocky road,
some stones may stab your souls.
Others you pick up, along the way
to hold as precious.
And some you pass by
which are chances unforetold.
Like you, the world’s on a journey.
A journey to answer the questions of life.
But what they do not know is that success
is found in the journey, not the destination.
So, as you walk down the rocky road,
try not to pass by so many stones,
for they just may be your answer to life.
Written by Teresa Marie Witucki
May 14, 2000
Teresa Marie Anne Witucki
During her almost 15 years of life, Teresa Marie Anne Plackowski-Witucki was an inspiration to her family and friends, touching their lives and encouraging them to do their best and treat others as they themselves would want to be treated. Teresa passed away in August 2001, one week before she was to begin her first year of high school, but her memory lives on in many ways.
Born in 1986 twinned to her brother Jonathan, Teresa possessed an inherent appreciation for the balance of life, according to her parents. She was a voracious reader of fantasy, literature and history, especially "Lord of the Rings". She also loved drama, and had roles in various Midland Center for the Arts plays and musicals as well as Northeast Middle School productions in Midland.
Teresa aspired to be an author, mother, teacher and actor, and loved to write. She wrote poems and short stories, and drafted a fantasy novel about the adventures of a young woman during medieval times. In the fourth grade, she was awarded first place in the "Disney's Create A Story" contest for her short story, titled "Anna Tahn". To commemorate her accomplishment, Walden Books donated $5,000 worth of books to Teresa's school library.
She also enjoyed nature and all aspects of it. She loved to camp in various National Parks (including Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Badlands of South Dakota, and the Sequoia and Redwood Forests of California). Her last trip was to the Grand Canyon, but her favorite spot was on Lake Superior in Copper Harbor in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Teresa finished eighth grade with high honors at Northeast Middle School, and scores on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests qualified her for a scholarship to a state university. She was chosen to be the Copy and Photo Editor for the school's newspaper. As an eighth grader, she achieved her proudest moment by placing second in the Academic Track Drama Competition for her portrayal of Charlie in "Flowers for Algernon". She also was chosen by staff to perform in a talent contest, singing a Celtic folk song, "Bonnie Portmoor" in front of the entire student body, along with parents and staff. She also moderated various school assemblies, and worked on a commemorative quilt, celebrating the school's 50 th anniversary.
Involvement in her family's church, Blessed Sacrament of Midland, also gave Teresa great joy. She volunteered for the Food Pantry, The Caring Tree and Foster Children's Christmas Gifts. Teresa also spent two years volunteering at the Chippewa Nature Center as one of the "Critters" in the annual "Critter Walk" for young children.
"Teresa had a gentle spirit," her parents wrote, "and a sweet disposition which earned her the nickname of 'Sweet Pea'. Teresa did not live long enough for the world to crush her spirit - her zest for life. She held onto the exuberance of youth. She believed that dragons really could fly. Childlike, but not childish; she found beauty and meaning in a stray feather or pebble. She cherished the experience of life. She ran ahead, seeking out the joys and trials of living, heedless of the outcome. Teresa did not fear failure, only complacency."
She was also a very ethical person, according to her parents. "She helped the cafeteria ladies pick up the lunchroom," they wrote. "When no boy would volunteer to carry Jesus' cross in the Passion play at church, she courageously carried the cross. She did not covet status or material possessions; she gave all of herself. Her heart, she wore on her sleeve. If this approach ever caused her pain, she would grit her teeth and say, 'So be it'. And move on. A reflection of her depth of perception was found in her diary where she wrote, 'It is so difficult to be yourself, when there are merchants on every corner selling masks.'"