Thursday, September 13, 2012

The loss of a student...

It's the 4th day of BBAW (Book Bloggers Appreciation Week) for which I signed up and made plans to post all of my daily posts this week not just on time, but early as well :p
I should have known better :/
It is the 5th week of school for us in Mississippi, but we have yet to have a "normal" week.  We've had major unexpected problems with technology on campus, a hurricane, classrooms bursting at the seams, financial woes, and some other "weird" stuff you don't really want to know about. 
But the worst of the worst is the death of one of our students.
Notice I used the verb "is" instead of "was." 
Our college is relatively average enrollment of about 5,000 students per semester. Death of one of our own hits us pretty hard because we value the smallness of our environment so that we are actually able to get to know our students, to guide them and support them, hold them up sometimes as they stumble through rough patches, and use all our professional powers as teachers to give them a foundation through those sometimes floundering 1st two years of newfound independence.
When we lose one, well...we take it hard.
In this particular situation, this young man was a student athlete as well.  He was a member of our soccer team, and as many of you know, so is my oldest daughter.
This one hit our college, students, faculty, adminstration extra hard.  Not because he was a student athlete, but because he was a student athlete, we know that he and all the others need "extra" guidance sometimes...extra push, extra expectations to learn to juggle the regular stresses of adjusting to college as well as athletic commitments and responsibilities.  That doesn't mean that we treat student athletes any different from anyone else; it just means some of us end up spending more time with them than others we only see in the classroom during classtime.
Our soccer team played its first game last night without him.
The game had to be rescheduled for his funeral.
At the beginning of the boys' game, the opposing team called all players, boys and girls, to the center of the field.
The players linked arms and held hands and honored their fallen comrade with a moment of silence.
You could have heard a pin drop in the stadium.

Please don't say you're sorry for my loss...if you're the praying kind, please pray for our students, 18-20 year olds who are at a vulnerable place in their lives and have lost a friend. 
Death really happens, and some of them have just been given a whopper of a lesson on one of the few 100% true realities of life.
Please pray for this young man's parents who are experiencing the kind of loss that I cannot even begin to imagine.  A. parent's. worst. nightmare.
A call in the wee morning hours last weekend to let you know your child was killed in a car accident.
Agony, torture, a pain that would seep into every fiber of who you are.
His father posted to Facebook last night about how much he simply "misses" his son...he was there one minute and gone the next.
Pray that as teachers and parents of his teammates that we will have the wisdom, patience, and ability to guide the others over this hurdle they never expected to leap.
And, most importantly, go right now, and hug, send a message, kiss, pat on the head, back or shoulders...whatever you do to let your kids know you love them...go do it now.
Because we are never promised later or tomorrow.


  1. Oh goodness, this post made me cry. I'm not the praying type, but I do send best wishes to everyone affected. I think it's only when something like this happens that you realise how far the impact travels. The ripples can spread outwards and affect the most unlikely people in the most profound of ways. Clearly you already have the compassion and empathy you'll need to help the people around you, so instead I'll wish you all the STRENGTH you need to lift up those who need your support. xx

  2. Such a poignant post and a reminder to not take anything for granted. Everyone who this young man touched will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. I am the praying type and I will do so today...for the parents and the kids and you too. The concept of getting a call like that is almost more than I can get my head around, and why I drive my kids nuts with my worrying and my need to try to protect them. Awful, awful.

  4. How devastating. In my circle of friends, we've had a tragic loss, too -- it's just horrible. Sending condolences to your community.

  5. Too sad. My condolences to the family, school, and community. Our community lost a young person over the summer--it is devastating to us, especially to the family who has lost their child.

  6. I am so sorry to hear this. What an awful loss. I will be praying for those kids, and for the family of the child who was lost.

  7. So, so tragic. Our community has a very high incidence of teen deaths due to reckless driving. So much so, that we have an entire section of our main park which displays tree stumps (to symbolize the abrupt end of life). It's a horrible memorial if you ask me. Looking at a tree stump would reduce me to tears. It's just too literal for me. Anyway, so much tragedy and heartache with these situations. I feel for everyone.

  8. Such a horrible loss of a life so young. Heartfelt sympathy to all who are grieving.

  9. I will definitely keep everyone in my thoughts!

  10. So very horrible, so sad. The worst thing that can happen.

  11. How terribly sad and such a tragedy. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and fellow students. Life on earth becomes a very confusing trial at times.

  12. This makes me so sad. The week Matthew went off to start college, a boy he knew from HS (that was also attending the same college)who was on the cross country team, drowned while cooling off with his friends after a long run. I can't imagine what his parents are going through, as well as his friends. So sorry to hear about your school and students being affected the same way. :(