The Company You Keep

in Rehtaeh Parsons

As a father I tried my best to drill home the message ‘you are the company you keep‘ to my daughter Rehtaeh. I wanted her to choose her friends wisely for not only would she be judged through them but surrounding yourself with good people makes an incredible difference when you need it the most. It’s a father thing. I have no idea how many times I mentioned that to her but I do know she always did her best to keep good company.

During the last conversation I had with Rehtaeh she answered a call on her cell phone from a guy she was seeing. I knew his name and she had mentioned him a few times but this was the first time I heard her say “I love you” to someone she was seeing. I didn’t tease her about it but asked and she said she loved him. I knew it must be serious and I was happy for her.

She said he helped her a lot and it was through his urging that she was trying so hard to get on with her life. To deal with the past and face the future with courage.

I met Mike for the first time in the hospital. He was hurting and it was very apparent he loved Rehtaeh. I feel for him. To be so young and go through something as awful as this.

We talked a bit. I knew much of him from Rae. He’s a good kid; smart, in college, getting his life started. He has a good job and wanted to build a good future for himself and possibly her too. He had good friends who stood by him in the hospital. They made sure he had a drive, something to eat, a shoulder to cry on.

He had the kind of friends he could be proud of. The kind of friends anyone would be happy to be judged by.

You are the company you keep.


  1. You are a great Dad. Mike sounds like an amazing kid. Rae was lucky to have you both of you in her life. We are all so grateful you continue to share Rae’s story so we can maybe… stop this from happening to someone else’s daughter, sister, girlfriend. Much Love & respect

  2. Dad…such an Old Fashioned notion…and SO necessary still….careful of the company you keep…

    Sad to say, “good company to keep” has less to do with the family they are from, or their importance in the the community or financial or sports world”…

    “Good Company to Keep” often has little to do with those things, and sadly that is sometimes learned through bad experience. ..

  3. That is so true to keep good company, but unfortunately, our children don’t have the same instinctive feelings towards people, because of their limited experience,and trust people whom they should not trust, but it’s hard to know who are good people or not.

  4. Awful what happened to your daughter. I really feel for you. However, in regards to this post, I believe in judging people on their OWN terms. Their OWN merits. You are only “the company you keep” if you don’t have a mind, ideals, and opinions of your own. You are “the company you keep” if you lack strength and are prone to the whims of others. Example. My mother is the nicest, most caring person you’d ever want to meet, but when my dad got a very serious form of cancer, what happened to her friends? They disappeared. Didn’t know how to handle it. Just disappeared. When he died a few years later, only one resurfaced to offer condolences and then disappeared again. This was the lowest point of my mom’s life and these morons were not supportive. Thank God she found inner strength to take charge and go forward with her life without them. People show their true colors in tough times. If I judged my mom by the insensitive actions of these people, whom I knew and respected as “good people” for years, would that have been fair or right? You think people are good and they can end up not to be. This is a fact of life. People are complex and even the people you think you can count on the most can become jerks and drop you like a piece of trash. I assure you I will never allow myself to be judged by “others” with whom I associate.

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