Today I went to school for an hour in the morning to do class placement for next year. As I was leaving Amanda approached me and I looked into her eyes and knew something was wrong. She proceeded to tell me that one of my past students killed himself last night.
Many things have crossed my mind today in regards to this tragedy.
First, I thought, Oh my God, I just saw him last week at preschool graduation and I didn't even say hi.
I also thought I don't know how his sister is going to deal with this. She was in my second grade class the year after him and she was much more shy and introverted than he was.
As I was driving home I couldn't stop crying and all I wanted to do was get my hands on my own two sons and pray they would never so such a thing.
I thought about his parents and prayed they have the strength to get through this for themselves and their other children.
I sat on my couch looking outside this afternoon. It was a gorgeous bright sunny day. I thought, All you had to do was go to sleep, you'd feel better when you woke up this morning.
I also thought, If I knew... I would have done anything to help him.
But this one thought kept coming back to me over and over and over today:
Every single time I've seen him since second grade, whether is was at our school carnival, a gas station, wherever he would always say, "Do you remember my name?" I would look up at him and say Of course and his first and last name and then ask how his sister is by name. I did it on purpose so he knew I not only remember him but was invested in his family.
You have no idea how much I wish I could go back to last Wednesday and walk over to him and say hi and make him feel special. I don't know why I didn't. Too wrapped up in my own family, maybe. Too caught up in the moment. I don't know. I made eye contact with him and thought about going over there and didn't. I'll always regret it.
Next week I will have to go to a wake for my student. It makes my heart sink, my throat tight and my stomach hurt when I think of it.
Every year on the last day I make this long speech about how once you're in Team 214 you're always in Team 214. Hopefully he remembered that even if I didn't get to talk to him one last time.