Monday, February 11, 2008

Grieving

I lost a student a week ago Friday night.

Most times, when a student moves away I get an email stating that the student is withdrawn and that their books are in my mailbox in the office. When they are expelled, the same thing happens. But last Saturday, my principal called me at home to tell me that one of my students had died. She had neck pain, followed by a headache, and she was taken to the hospital where she passed away of an inner brain bleed. She was 14 years old. I was okay at first, but when I thought of how her parents must be suffering, the same way I would suffer if something like this happened to Sera, I broke down.

When I went back to school on Monday, there were counselors on hand to help with grieving students. They weren't enough. I didn't last very long in my first period before tears welled up in my eyes. The young lady's death was on everyone's mind and I couldn't even talk about it. This sentiment was shared and noticed by my students, or at least most of them. One of my students, who must be a sociopath or something, didn't understand why we were upset just because someone close to us had died. I know that anger is one of the stages of grief, and I sure felt it just then. I didn't have to say a word to him, though. The girl's friends who were in the class just about made him shrivel away with their stares.

When second period came around, the period I had her in class, I thought the class would never end. One hour felt like ten. No one could even look at the empty seat in the room where she had sat. Almost everyone was in tears. I heard kids bargaining, saying that they would gladly give their life for hers. It was heartbreaking. Several kids had to go down to the counselors because they just couldn't bear the pain of loss. I understood how they felt. I tried to busy myself with work, but it all came back when I had to mark her absent on my computer at the end of the period. One would have thought that she would be removed from the roster before her teachers had to do that, but apparently that was too much to hope for.

This girl was wonderful, one of those kids who never misses a day of school, always has the homework done, and never makes any trouble. To be honest, though, none of that matters. No one should die at 14.



1 comment:

Bree said...

My son is in junior high and his school recently lost one of the 9th graders. She got sick on a Saturday and was gone by Sunday morning. It is very painful, even if you don't know these kids, I can't imagine being her teacher and having to mark her absent.