Eleven years ago today, I was a sophomore in college living in Treelodge Apartments, a complex full of college students. I remember our Saturday fun being interrupted when someone knocked on the door saying that Aaliyah had been killed in a plane crash. I shook my head. I didn’t believe it. It had to be another rumor. Soon I found myself in front of the television watching MTV News praying they’d gotten it wrong, praying she’d make it out, not knowing how to process the death of R&B’s 22-year-old angel.
In the coming days, the pain became palpable. From her mom and brother to her boyfriend, Dame Dash, and friends, Missy, Timbaland and DMX, everyone was genuinely broken by the untimely death of someone so young, so good, so pure. I’ve never understood why good people leave this earth so early, but there’s always a lesson to be learned. In Aaliyah’s case, that lesson was patience. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of life and so eager to get to the next place, that we throw caution and concern to the wind.