I went inside the building today during my planning period to make some copies.
I stopped in the office and put my stuff down on the table just inside the door. And there, on the table, was a vocabulary book.
Without even realizing what I’d done, I grabbed it off the table and walked back to my classroom. And I sort of tried to hide it from anyone who might’ve seen me walking out to my classroom.
I put the book in my desk drawer and as I closed the drawer, I remembered his writing folder that is still in my filing cabinet.
I can’t bring myself to throw it out. And now I have this book.
Every time I come across a piece of paper with his name on it, I’m reminded of the fact that he’s not here. He’s not filling out applications for college. He’s not graduating with his friends.
I mourn all over again. For their loss and for mine.
I feel like I’m the only adult in that whole building who mourns this loss.
I know that’s likely not the case, but it’s hard to see the students who were in that class last year with him and carry on like nothing’s happened.
We all know something happened.
There’s an unspoken understanding between us all.
Those of us who lost him.
Those of us who didn’t, and don’t, and probably never will, understand it.
I don’t know what it is exactly that possesses me to keep his things. I should pass them on to his mother or something.
But they are reminders that he mattered to me. That he made a lasting impression on my life. That he taught me compassion and consideration. That being a teenager is hard. Harder than I remember it now that I’m “all grown up.” And that being told “this is nothing compared to the rest of your life” is very little consolation to them.
A decision has been made that we’re not to openly honor or memorialize him for fear that we’ll somehow glorify the act of suicide, thus creating copycat deaths.
I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a more lazy and ridiculous reason for inaction in my life.
NOT talking about this is why things like this happen in the first place.
I wish there were a memorial honoring his life.
For now, the book in my desk drawer will have to do.