When the email hit my inbox this afternoon and I saw it was from Betty Lou Whitford, dean of the college of education at Auburn University and that the subject was “Brittany Larkin,” my heart sank.  I feared it was not good news and I was right.

Betty Lou’s colleague and my friend passed away this Labor Day morning.

I posted this about Brittany last Marsh and asked readers to remember her with their thoughts and prayers.

A native of Florida and graduate of the University of Florida, she only joined the staff at Auburn a few years ago.  I met her not long afterwards and latched on.  She was smart and patient with my questions and always responsive.  And she could use what I call “plain language” to explain complex topics to this south Alabama redneck.  I called on her often to help me understand things.

In fact, she sent me an email and a link to an article she thought I would be interested in about two weeks ago.

She used Facebook to keep friends updated on her situation.  She relied on her strong faith and the support of many, many friends to face each day.  And while she tried hard to maintain a positive outlook, every time I read one of her dispatches and all the Hell she was going though, my heart ached.

She was a warrior and gave it her best shot.  But along the way she encountered many days of great pain and wrestled mightily with the unknown.

I lost a friend today.  And so did 730,000 Alabama public school students.

I will miss her.