Wednesday, January 16, 2008

and I can't help

Mr 18 learned of a tragedy yesterday: a friend of his took his own life. It is indescribable to think of the horror these parents are feeling. Mr 18 and his friends are nearly incapable of functioning at this point, they merely walk through the days in a fog. The hardest part for me, is there is nothing I can do to help, except sit with him when he is here and tell him that I can't fix it for him, but I'm always right here when he needs me. Mr 18 is emotional on a good day, and this has taken a huge toll. He doesn't like to talk to us when he's having emotional troubles, but now and then, if I happen to time it right, he will open up a bit. He was home for lunch today. I waited to put my lunch in the oven until just as he got home, but I made sure it didn't look intentional. I sat at the table with him while he ate his lunch, but I tried not to say anything unnecessary. Eventually he started talking a bit:
"I skated with him almost every day last summer."

"I know you did. I wish I had known him better. Did *friend* skate with him, too?"

"yea, every day, even when I couldn't."

"How is *friend* doing?"

"He hides it. (pause) It's hard."

"Yes, it is."

"He was out recording music with his band... that night... I just don't get it."

"Did those friends know anything was wrong?"

"No one did.... *other friend* went and sat with his Mom all day yesterday."

"that was nice of him, I can't imagine how hard that was."

"me either. It's the only time I have seen *another friend* cry. I've never seen him cry before."

silence for a while... then he says:
"I told the guys I would come and just sit with them for a while."

"Ok, I can't fix this for you; but I can be here if you need me."

"I know"

Not too many words spoken, and it doesn't sound like much to an outsider, but this was a good step forward.

We live in a small town, this isn't something that is going to be un-noticed. The young man graduated last spring, he has a lot of friends at the High School, and yet Mr 18 said that no one at the high school has even acknowledged what is going on. There is a large part of the student body going through some serious emotion and the administrators have yet to see fit to discuss it. Will there really be any learning going on right now? Are the teachers and administrators unable to see the pain these kids are in? Or are they just ignoring it? It won't go away. There is a big roadblock in the way of education at that school today. Pressing forward with business as usual will not benefit the students or the staff. This young man was a big part of this High School. The loss of his life isn't a non-event. Honoring him and remembering him will help these kids to heal. Ignoring what has happened will only increase the tension the students are feeling.

No comments: