Last Monday a former student committed suicide. He was in my class seven years ago, but he was one of those 1500 kids who have sat in my classroom for the last nine years that I vividly remember. He was a nice guy and he tried hard at everything he did. He was also someone who I had conversations with until he graduated four years ago. Apparently he suffered from depression and even had attempted suicide the week before – at the same place.
He is in the front row.
That year I had my classes adopt a child from one of those organizations that run commercials on late night television. We needed to collect about $200.00 and I had about 160 students. I asked the kids over a week to give what they could, maybe pass on a soda that day. On the first day I collected money, I had $40.00 in change, a number of one’s, and a twenty. I asked all the classes who had given the twenty; one kid came up to me and told me whom it was. Guess who? I asked him to stay after and said that he had given too much. If the class was short, I would make up the difference. He just looked at me and said that he wanted to give it. That this child we would be adopting needed it more then him.
Today there was a memorial service for him. Turn out was amazing. At least 150 people, probably more, were jammed into a small strip-mall style church in my school’s community. While there were other adults from the school, I was the only teacher in attendance. The standing room-only service will filled with people in pain, many of his friends questioned what they could have done, and no doubt there was some anger underneath the sadness. In his end there was no final contemplation as he stood on the brink. He stopped his car and ran for the edge. From what I have learned about him that is how he lived his life.
There is something wrong about this. No one should have to bury his or her children. I could not imagine the pain that this has caused his parents, let alone the guilt. My children are the absolute centers of my life. I hope he has found his peace and wish the best to his loved ones.