I received word today that two of our school’s former students passed away overnight. While one was never a student of mine, news of her being murdered by her boyfriend is sure to hit our students hard tomorrow in school. The other former student, who died in a car accident, was an extremely active member in our school – she was a star on our Mock Trial team, a valued member of our Newspaper Staff and just a fun kid to be around. Making this even more difficult is the fact that her younger sister is currently a senior this year.
Dealing with death is never an easy thing to do, we all know this fact. But we have had to deal with an inordinate amount lately – and I’m really not sure that this part of the profession was ever explained to us in our schooling. I’m not sure how to deal with the questions dealing with why this keeps on happening to “us.” Off the top of my head I just counted 13 former students who have all passed away tragically over the past 10 years. Obviously, that number is just ridiculously high. You’d think that I’d know what to say by now, that I’d be prepared to comfort the students who need my support. But I don’t. Heck, right now I’d like some questions answered myself.
While I never had the student who was murdered last night, this news hit me just as hard. Immediately, I was taken back to February of 2006 when I was told of another former student’s death at the hands of her boyfriend. Jessie was also a valued member of our Newspaper staff and I remember the numbness that immediately took over my legs. She was the first student to ever beat me at Scrabble and I remember just how proud she was to rub this in (I deserved it, I gloated about beating her all the time…) It’s still hard for me to open up the closet that holds the pink Care Bear she got for me as a thank you before her graduation. It was just all too familiar when I heard the news today and then only compounded when I heard of Cathy’s car accident.
I want to lead. I want to know the right things to say. I don’t want my kids to see that I’m numb. And right now I just want to figure out how to get through tomorrow.