I got some terrible news last night. The kind of news that you really don't know what to do with.
A boy in Miss Kat's class in Colby was killed last night in a 4-wheeler accident. We knew this boy, we know his dad fairly well. How on earth do you express sympathy to a father who's just lost one of two lights of his life? How on earth do you express sympathy to anyone who has lost a child? Their sorrow is one that can only be understood by other parents who've lost a child.
That kind of sorrow, I hope I never have to feel.
I had to tell Miss Kat the bad news. She wasn't sure how she was supposed to react. How difficult is it for a 12 year old to understand death? At that age, you feel that life is...long and that nothing bad can ever happen to you or to any of your friends. Sure, old people die, but not someone who sat next to you in class.
I worried about her last night, because she didn't want to really talk about it, and she didn't ask many questions. She did say, "Well, sometimes, T was annoying." I told her, "yes, he was a boy, and most boys are annoying. Just because he died, you don't have to make him perfect. Just remember him as he was, and think of his family. That's all we can do now."
Then today, a friend of mine, who happens to have a son in Miss Kat's class, and one of T's friends, forwarded this on to me. It's an email from Miss Kat.
He will be missed.
Sign your name if you wish T happiness in heaven.
And, she sent it on to all her friends, who have forwarded it on and on and on. All are adding their thoughts and their condolences, a bunch of 12 year old kids... sharing, and maybe finding a way to express their confusion and grief.
Right now, I'm so proud of Miss Kat for taking the time to think of an "annoying" boy, and to find a way to honor his memory. Maybe she's a good kid after all...in spite of her parents.