Haley's Story

Haley Ann Rue

March 6, 1995 - July 18, 2014

I think it is wise for you to know why Haley's Place came into existence. I am Haley's Mom and I could not be more honored to tell you about my loving daughter and her extraordinary life. Haley came into the world with eyes and arms wide open. Little did I know then that would be how she would live her entire life.

Haley was an only child. This may have been the reason her bond with her cousins and friends was so strong. She loved people and easily made connections with others throughout her life. It is truly remarkable the number of people who told me Haley was their best friend. After she died, I received so many letters from those who knew her well and others she had only know for a short time. The one common thread was how much they had been touched by her openness. Not only did they feel that they knew her but that she really knew them as well. Haley was just that girl.

As a child Haley had a way about her. She was bright, beautiful, and full of passion. She was a young child with an old soul. One of her earliest interests was musical theater. She loved acting and performing on the stage. Summer and Spring vacations were often spent learning and rehearsing plays with Tacoma Children's Musical Playhouse. There is no better feeling for a Mom than watching your child do what they love. Later, Haley would turn the love of theater into a new pursuit. She would become a nationally ranked orator as she competed on Mount Rainier Lutheran High School's Forensic Team.

As Haley grew, she had so many interests. She would become an accomplished pianist, play percussions in both her high school sports and jazz bands. Music was in her soul. Our life was filled with love, laughter and music. Haley was also an athlete. She played soccer with so much heart. When she decided to no longer play select soccer it opened up a whole new world of athletics. She could now play on a variety of teams. Basketball and track would become new favorites.

Haley was tender hearted and always showed compassion for others. One of my proudest moments, came when Haley was a freshman in high school. One of her classmates was being bullied and she wanted to put an end to it. Here is an excerpt from the letter I received from Kale Hansen, Haley's theater teacher: "Haley asked to speak to me outside the room and informed me of what was happening. She tried to get them to stop on her own, but wasn't successful, and decided the bullying simply needed to stop. I asked her what she was comfortable with me doing about it since I didn't want to put her in an awkward position with her peers, and she said she didn't care about that, the situation just needed to end. Standing up for what is right in a situation like that is not easy at all. In fact it's incredibly difficult, especially in the context of high school. Haley exhibited maturity and courage far beyond her years. It was by far the bravest thing I've ever seen one of my students do for another, and certainly an amazing example of what it means to live your beliefs".

Haley and I shared a love for the cabin. It was here that we would spend all our Holidays and many weekends throughout the year. At the cabin, extended family would gather. Haley often couldn't wait for her cousins to arrive. Endless hours would be spent log jumping at the beach, playing cards, and cozying up to the TV; arms and legs wrapped around whoever was lucky enough to be sitting next to her. Mostly though Haley just loved spending time with family.

As parents we lovingly nurture and guide our children and then proudly and reluctantly release them into the world. I too would have to let Haley go as she would choose to travel across country to attend college at Harvard. Haley's freshman year was filled with challenges and new experiences, plus the ups and downs of going to school so far from home. Haley wouldn't have changed it for the world.

When Haley told me she had taken a summer job traveling and writing abroad, her dream job, I could not have been more proud and happy for her. Haley was in her 6th week of an 8 week job experience when on a weekend off in the German Alps there would be a tragic accident and Haley would lose her life.

Life without Haley is the hardest thing I will ever have to do. Regardless, I could not be more proud of my daughter and the young woman she became. I will always feel so incredibly blessed to be her Mom. It is because of our continued love for Haley that, together with her Aunts and Uncles and a few close friends, we started "Haley's Place".