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 small...an 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.