Dealing With Death In High School

For the second time this school year, our high school suffered a death in the student body.  Dealing with death in high school is unfortunate, but not new.  What is different I suppose is the way generations handle the loss both in person and on social media.

During the last week of the summer a boy in 16.5’s junior class killed himself.  We live in a small school district and the kids were clearly upset.  (I tend to think some of the energy spent on grieving was reflective of others in the grade.)  Instagram accounts were full of tributes to the boy.  On the community pages on Facebook there was sometimes (in my opinion) over wrought hand wringing asking how could this happen here? How could the signs be missed?

A couple of weeks ago, as winter break was ending tragedy struck 14.5’s freshman class when a boy was rundown (accidentally) crossing a major roadway near our house.   There’s probably more to the story – but you can see the reaction of the kids in all of the grades at the high school the loss was felt.

When I took 14.5 and some of her friends to the corner 24 hours after the accident to leave flowers and remember their friend – each took out their phone and commemorated the moment on Snapchat.  Back on the community pages of Facebook was the same hand wringing asking how could this happen here?  In this case, there was also a link to an accident a couple of years ago that claimed another life.

Perhaps – one day – the intersection will be made safer.  Perhaps one day the lessons of the immediate past will be learned and used.

For now though dealing with death in high school is a generational process – and it plays out across social media.  I can think back to my high school days, I can remember four of my classmates passing during my years at Carey High School on Long Island.  One was murdered, one (maybe two) died from cancer and one was in a car accident.

Dealing with death in high school in the 80’s though was (in my opinion) a much more solemn moment – not commemorated with pictures and posts – but with shared memories and a few hugs.

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Cupid Undie Run Time

From the 2014 Cupid's Undie Run in NYC

From the 2014 Cupid’s Undie Run in NYC

Now that the calendar has turned to 2015, and the temperatures in the Northeast will begin their annual drop to the single digits to teens, we’ve reached Cupid Undie Run time.  Yes, that annual mile or so scamper through New York City’s streets clad in underwear.

This is the third year I’ll be doing this fun run – which raises money to help fight childhood cancers.

Anyone who knows the story of my family knows how cancer changed it forever.  While it was not childhood cancer, I can think of no place better to wage the battle on cancer than fighting for  children who have their lives in front of them and are battling cancers so early in life.

There was nothing more important to Risa than our children – and making sure they were raised healthy and in a loving home.  I do my best to supply the latter, and do all I can to assure the former.

It’s a fun day in the city – and I encourage everyone to sign up and strip down.  Check out my Instagram (and feel free to throw a like or follow) if you want to see some of last year’s fun, or track this year’s event next month.

And if you can’t make the run (we’ll step off on February 7th) – I hope you’ll support the cause.  Click on my contributions page.  Dad the Single Guy will match the first $250 worth of donations made.

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Family Time in the Post Modern World

The girls with Travis Hamonic (l) and Brock Nelson (r)

The girls with Travis Hamonic (l) and Brock Nelson (r)

Today was a family day for us – courtesy of the New York Islanders.  It was their annual meet the team day at Adventure Land (an amusement park not far from our house).  As the day played out, I realized our time is like family time in the post modern world.  And that is probably not so bad.

Among the things I try to do is I try to raise two girls who can be independent.  I realize one will be 12 next week and the other is 14.5 – so they are not completely ready to be out on their own.  But it’s not like they are five and seven and need me in the middle of their worlds all the time.

So we wandered through the park getting autographs.  14.5 took lead in plotting the course.  The goal was the new players on the team, and the few players (John Tavares) we didn’t get at the event last year.  And we were pretty successful.  We met the new goalies (Halak and Johnson), the Russian imports (Grabovski and Kulemin), the younger players (Strome, deHaan, Lee and Nelson) and some favorites (Hamonic and Carkner).

We also bumped into some friends, the Ice Girls and did a few spins on the roller coaster, Frisbee and other rides.  A little more than three hours later – we headed out for lunch.

Up the road from Adventure Land, we sat at a chain restaurant and the girls were busy catching up with their friends via Instagram, Snap Chat and group text.  They were engaged with each other and their friends – the devices did not take away from the family time, but gave it that post modern feel.

I’m feeling good about not being a fan of the post modernist movement – but for family time in the post modern world, we do OK.

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Off to the Races – The Cupid Undie Run

Cupid Undie Run 2014This winter New York has been a winter wonder land.  And after weeks of snow storm after snow storm and piles of snow at every corner – the next thing to do is strip down to your underwear and run through the streets of New York City.  So, off to the races – the Cupid Undie Run is on.

It seems like the snow falling on the runners heading south along the West Side Highway was kind of poetic justice – after all it always snows in NYC this winter.  The cause is just – research for the treatment of childhood cancers and the company was fun.  It’s not unlike a rolling party in the streets of New York.

For the second year, I asked readers here and elsewhere for contributions.  And a big thank you to all who read, and in this case contributed.  Overall, the NYC undie run raised more than $125,000 (we did our part at just over $300).  And a good time was had by all.

So next year look for the links, the emails and if you’re not going to strip down and run, I hope you’ll consider contributing.

If you want to see some of the fun, check out my Instagram (and don’t be afraid to follow or throw a like), or the Twitter hash tag #ImWithCupid.


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