Two of my former students died this week. Somehow, it never gets easier.
Russell was one of those students who didn't give a rip about his grades, but he was 100% interested in learning. He was curious and interested in everything. His wicked, sarcastic wit often made me smile. He knew I loved his intelligent humor. His friends said he was the life of the party, and I can imagine the energy and fun he provided. He did some time in the military, spent some time overseas, but I lost track of whether he was still in active service or not. He took his own life earlier this week. He was 32.
Kristin was 27 and the mother of four. She went out to buy milk for the kids and never returned. She had been missing for almost two weeks when they found her body yesterday. As a sophomore, she was bright, but struggling to figure out who she was. She had a quick grin and sassy strength. That year, she wrote a paper about me that won a county contest. She was so proud when they asked her to read her paper and present the award to me. I always had a soft spot for her, and she knew it. I'd been praying that she grew weary of motherhood and took off for a few weeks of rest and relaxation. Unrealistic, I know. I just didn't want this ending.
This has been National Teacher Week. Seniors parents have brought in goodies. Our administration gave us some awesome insulated water glasses with our new mascot. A former student brought me a candy bouquet and necklace. We're having a red hat 50th birthday party for a colleague. Let's face it, we are counting down the days until the end of school. But...
I have had two jarring reminders to enjoy my year with these sophomores, to cultivate good memories of their year with me. In all likelihood, it will be all that we will get.