"A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Thing

When we got the news, of course it was--as it always is--shocking and sad. One of our former students, only a high school senior, had died. She had been sickly off and on, and she died of natural causes. But, at just 18, no causes can really seem natural. The other 7th grade teacher and I went to the funeral to represent our school. I was prepared for the funeral, I have been to too many funerals, though not to any of former students. I had steeled myself to be strong, to "keep it together", to say a few words to the parents and grandparents. What I was not ready for when I entered that room was the sea of faces I recognized--dozens of our former students looked up at us. How could I have forgotten that her friends would be there? Dozens of young, sad faces--not quite ready to take this step into adulthood, but knowing that this--their presence to honor their lifelong friend--was necessary and important, that was the sight that brought me to tears. They looked so young, not fully formed but determined--one foot right into adulthood, and one still back in childhood somewhere. They took comfort in each other, and they remembered their friend, and they made us proud of how they are growing up.

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