The past few days have been filled with grief. A community and school district have suffered the loss of a young boy, Kyle Halcomb. Many others were shocked by the death of recently retired L’Anse Creuse High School-North Principal Dave Jackson. On the global stage, diva Whitney Houston died at the early age of 48.

Kyle was on his way to school, just like any other morning, when the van filled with children driven by his mother apparently went through a red light and was rammed by another vehicle.Kyle died a few days later. I can’t begin to fathom the nightmare this family is going through. One split second changes everything. With all the talk of risks we face, none is greater than driving down the highways every day. My girls are driving or learning to drive, and as long as they are behind the wheel or riding in cars with their peers, I doubt I can ever relax. Kyle Halcomb “played football and enjoyed all sports, fishing, was an artist, the ‘big little brother,’ and always had a smile on his face,” his obituary reads. Such a sad story.

So many students and faculty have expressed their shock at the loss of Mr. Jackson. Not just in L’Anse Creuse, but in the many other locations where he was an educator or coach. My daughter said he was at every cross country meet, rain or shine, no matter how far the drive. She said he would say hello to kids and call them by their names. Trust me, in these big schools we have around here, it’s not uncommon that kids don’t even know who their principals are. Not so in Mr. Jackson’s case. Teachers said Mr. Jackson’s influence and integrity are reflected in L’Anse Creuse North. One said he was looking forward to retirement so he could spend more time with his grandchildren. That alone is all I need to know about Mr. Jackson.

Even though they never shared the worldwide fame of Whitney Houston, the losses of Kyle and Mr. Jackson affect me, sadden me.

On the other end of the spectrum, people who never knew Whitney Houston will place teddy bears and flowers at memorials. The saddest part about Whitney Houston is she was not protected by the people who supposedly loved her. Someone with honor should have removed her from the shallow, drug-filled culture in which she lived. Bobby Brown failed as a husband in that aspect. Maybe he was just too selfish. As we watched the Grammys on Sunday night, we dreamed about being a superstar, having all the wealth and fame you could ever want, and having your every whim catered to.

Then I remembered, that’s exactly what Whitney Houston had.