Thursday, October 21, 2010

a sad story

On Monday, MyFavoriteKid came in the front door after school with little tears welled up in his little eyes (sorry, he will always be my little guy on some level), and the first words out of his mouth were, "Today was a very bad day. Want to hear about it?"

Oh my god, I am so happy that he is 13 and even wants to speak to me at all, let alone about something that is upsetting him. Are you kidding me?? "YAH I want to hear about it."

"There are two sisters that go to my school, one in 6th grade, the other in 8th, and they were driving down to Los Angeles over the weekend with their grandmother, and there was a car accident, and the 8th grader is in the hospital, but the 6th grader and the grandmother died."

I expressed the shock and sadness that came automatically. We talked about what the day was like at school (a stupor for everyone, including staff, it sounds like). We talked about how well he knew the girls (he knows the 8th grader, although not that closely; it's more like he has close friends that were friends with her, so it's once removed, basically...but he knows the 6th grader from the monthly peer mentoring group he is part of, where the older kids help the younger kids with their transition into middle school). He talked with me about the how the other kids at school were handling it, and he no problem at all identifying for himself that he was feeling very upset and he thinks it's because it reminded him of when I had my car accident (his eyes welled up even more with that comment, and so we talked about that for awhile, too). I asked if there were counselors on site, and he said there was, but he didn't go talk to one because there were lost of other kids that were very upset and crying and he felt like they needed it more than he did.

I have since learned that this tragedy ripples out beyond the boundaries of the middle school, because the mother of these two girls is the custodian of one of the two local elementary schools, and that there are also two younger brothers in this family, and they attend the other elementary school.

*sigh* It's big.

So I got an email from MyFK's homeroom teacher yesterday. This middle school has a really cool homeroom situation, if I haven't mentioned it before. A homeroom class is made up of 30 kids: ten 6th-graders, ten 7th-graders, ten 8th graders, and you have the same homeroom teacher your entire three years in middle school. The older kids get to know the younger ones. Your homeroom teacher really sees you grow and evolve, and the homeroom teacher also serves as a front-line counselor in a way. I am very lucky that MyFK has a great teacher for his homeroom period (she is also his 8th grade accelerated language arts teacher this year).

Anyhow. So as I was saying. I got an email from MyFK's homeroom teacher. She was thanking me for my donation of a case of tissues (she had requested some in anticipation of cold season), and she said that she was really glad she had them because they went through a whole bunch on Monday after the announcement about the girls and the accident. I replied that she was welcome, and that I had heard about the accident, that MyFK was upset by it, and that he expressed a big interest in a poetry project some of the kids want to put together to give to the family. She replied back to me that she had sat with each student indiviually that day for a few moments (man, I love her), and that MyFK said that he was fine....but that she did notice he did not seem himself at all on Tuesday or Wednesday, and when she asked him if something was up, he said he was tired. I have since checked in with MyFK, and he IS really just tired (growth spurt!), but he did say the air is really thick with sadness at school, and it's not like you can ignore it.

I guess you really dont need the details of these exchanges, but the general gist is that I am soooo glad that MyFK feels like he can bring this stuff home and open up to me about it. I feel so honored to the recipient of that openness. I am so glad that he has grown into an empathetic young man, and he is feeling inspired to do something to help (or to help himself move through it). I don't often pat myself on the back for doing a good job, and I can't take credit for how he has turned out (he is definitey his own person, that's for sure), but I do believe that I had a hand in teaching him this skillset, and I am feeling really really good about it.

It just started to rain here.

MyFK is working on a poem. I am making a card for the family.

Sent from my iPad



Sadness and grief are not only for the urban/suburban. I lost a classmate back in 7th grade from a farm accident. Sounds like a teaching moment.

And of course, I grieve with the family.

Every death is new.

not supergirl said...

Oh, it is a sad story, and beautiful one, too. There will always be sadness, and it's wonderful that he knows you'll be there to help him through it.
I'm so sorry for the whole affected community and hope for peace for everyone involved.

Maggie said...

Not knowing you, except as a reader here, and not knowing your MFK at all, I want to be careful not to presume.

And, I need to mention that often the person who says 'I'm okay, other people needed help more than me' is suffering from the early stages of what may turn into PTSD. I appreciate the maturity he has shown in sharing the sadness with you, and in offering what help he can. And I hope you'll make sure he gets his turn at counseling, too.

Sounds like you've done a terrific job with him. Sending plenty of love and light to you, and the MFK, and his schoolmates, and the family involved ... for the highest good of all concerned.

Kris, in New England said...

He may be his own person but that didn't happen in a vaccuum. You most assuredly had something to do with it. It's just so damned sad you got to see it while he is this young - this kind of loss is just so tragic and beyond comprehension.

Jan said...

Go, Mom! And go, your FK!

~Donna~ said...

So so so sad...two lives end, but so much begins for all those who were touched by those lives. Love and hugs to all...

So glad he felt he could open up like that to you.

Ya done good Mom.

Kathy said...

What a great kid and what a great amount of support from his school! Sorry to hear about this tragedy.