Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tragedy at a young age

My daughter-in-law, Lisa, teaches middle school math, and she wrote me yesterday that one of her students, 14 years old, had taken her own life. The girl had been in a traffic accident in July that killed two of her friends and her sister, and she had a hard time coping. The drunk driver who hit them was from Nepal and is presumed to have fled the country, so there's no closure there. The mom who was driving the car also survived. But the real tragedy to me is that the girl's mother and grandmother said they knew the girl was hurting, but they had no money for counseling. Apparently, they didn't realize the state provides counseling free in such situations. It strikes me that a whole segment of our population, probably poor, probably uneducated, is simply not equipped to deal with life's tragedies, to seek help where it's available.
Yesterday, Lisa wrote that the family wanted someone from the school to speak. Many were reluctant, so she wrote out a short paragraph and sent it to me for editing. I told her I wouldn't touch a word--what she wrote came from the heart and from knowing the girl. I worried today about her having to read it, but it turns out the minister read the words of comfort from the teachers. Still, I'm proud of her for having volunteered and for being willing to stand up before the congregation. I didn't have the nerve to do it at Charles' memorial service Sunday, though there was much I could have said.
Lisa tells me when school starts next week, they will have counselors available to the students and are planning to bring in a speaker on suicide--a good move.
Next week, my oldest grandchild starts middle school, the next one goes into second grade, and two enter kindergarten. I feel like we're sending them into a foreign world. In public school they run into so many influences they've been sheltered from all their lives. Mine are well grounded, much loved, secure children but still I pray for each of them every night. Oh, in some ways, I'd love to put a glass bubble around each of those children that I love so much. And the family in the Houston area that has lost two girls this summer? I cannot even begin to imagine their pain. They, too, are in my prayers.

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