Midvale School for the Gifted Alumni Association

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What We Leave Behind

A phone message from your place of employment after 9pm is never a good thing; last night, I arrived home to find a message from my principal calling me to a crisis meeting at 7:30 the next morning. One of our student's mother had died, suddenly and violently, yesterday afternoon.

And, by suddenly and violently, I'm talking about a suicide, as we learned in the meeting that morning. We talked about a triage plan for the student, the support the family would need, and the ongoing supports our other students may need as they heard the news. The counselor of the student told us all to not only watch out for our students to take care of them, but to take care of our own needs as well, as deaths always resonate with people differently, and often in ways they don't understand.

For me, I knew exactly why I was quiet and tense-shouldered and stoic this morning. Having had friends commit suicide, I found the news difficult to hear, and felt the lingering anger and sadness and confusion, that I always thought I was beyond, bubble up and sit on the back of my neck once more. So, although slightly surprised, I was glad to have several moments this morning to talk about my friends, and how they died, and how delivering this news to students reminded me of those days. A similar method in one instance, a similar aftermath (delivering the news) in another, it all came back. Not with a bang, but a whimper, but back all the same.

Back when Darren died, I found a quote from Dylan Thomas, "After the first death/there is no other." I find this to be so true, as every death I've worked through with family and friends always brings me back to those days when death first really affected me. And still, no matter how many days have gone by since, nearly every day brings me a small reminder of my friends. Sometimes happy, sometimes annoying, sometimes sad. But every day I think of them. And I just needed to share that truth with you all.

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Blogger yellojkt said...

That is really tragic. I'm sad for you and the student.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

Suicide leaves an awful lot of scars, what a terrible legacy for the student. We just had a grandpa hang himself from a tree in the front yard of the house. Awful.

2:58 AM  

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