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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Persistence, Try Again and Other Odds and Ends

Heading into the weekend-with the weather forecast not good, I am kind of hoping to be able to make it through all the softball games, the recent spate of rain outs has made my carefully balanced schedule a mess.  Sometimes it’s like being in a maze, and trying to find the way out.

So, all things being equal, it’s 9.0 softball tonight, a double-header tomorrow with 11.5 at 3:45 and 9.0 at 6.  We wrap the softball weekend up Sunday morning with 11.5’s game at 9AM-which is usually when my weekly softball game is.  So that’s not happening already.

All of this is to make up for games lost this week to random changes and rainouts.  Despite losing the entire weekend to softball-it’s better than trying to juggle more during the week.

And speaking of during the week, it was a kind of eventful as it ended.

A friend and co-worker gave his notice that he was leaving, so we rolled out for a farewell event Wednesday night.  Yeah, we had a few too many but we both made our way back to Penn Station.  He went left to the NJ Transit side, and I went downstairs to the LIRR after saying good night.  By the time I sat down on my train, my friend committed the greatest sin of corporate life in 2012-drunk emailing.  Despite having two days left to go he was fired.

As for me, my Thursday morning was tough.  I got the girls out with their breakfasts as usual, and made my way (with a hangover) to the train.  Then the effect of drinking on me-I left my bag with my laptop and train ticket at home.  So back into the car and back home (25 minutes each way) so I could get onto a train and make it through the rest of the work week, trying to piece together how Wednesday night got so sideways.

As if that were not enough, then comes the personal side of life-where I struggle and try to learn one lesson at a time.  Each time I think I have a lesson learned (this one about communication) to pieces it goes.  Personal life back to the drawing board too….

Ah well, it’s the weekend.  If the rain holds out, it’s about four weeks until the end of softball season.

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