School’s out. Not with a bang but a fizzle. Last year, it was long awaited, exciting to be completing another year. This year, it was still long awaited but I wasn’t excited. I just wanted the kids to leave. Perhaps this is because my 9th graders are really truly leaving this year. I will miss them. I was feeling sad that they were leaving but that isn’t what made me want to run and never come back.
I wanted to do that because on one of my most celebrated days – the start of the last week – one of my students came to checkout of school. He told me he tried to kill himself. That he had several times. He wasn’t sure how many. It was the first I had heard of this. It was revolting. To have been so clueless. I don’t want a job where such devastating loss is part of the package. Every year, something horrible happens. I hate it. I feel I have failed. Let my student down by not being their link to security.
Of course, I can’t be that. It isn’t my role. Self importance allows me to think that only I could have helped. All bullshit. Any thought of helping someone that doesn’t want help is a waste. I have been there. I have planned. Nothing and no one can pull you from that grip. Nothing matters. No one matters. All logic lost.
The only true hope is that time will pass or someone will notice and physically insert themselves into your day. Never leaving. Not ever giving you that opportunity you so desperately want but won’t ask for because you know you’ll be denied. Thank the rotation of the earth for the passage of time. That allows you a minute to think clearly. To see what an ass you’ve been. To thank whatever you want to still be alive. All things matter. Everyone matters.
Could I be the person that inserts into the path of a suicidal student? Yes. I do think it’s my job. It is my role. “To a degree.” I am told – my job is to recognize. To alert. Even with everyone on alert, we still fail. I didn’t recognize. That is where I failed. I think back to what I could have noticed. These kids. They don’t all open up and tell you their troubles. They say, “I’m fine.” Liars. All of them.
I tried to make up for my failure. I tried to tell him that one day, he will see a bird or leaf or sunset that fills him to no end. It will be there just for him. And he will be glad that he is there to see it. Did he believe me? Will he try again? Or has there been enough time? Will he get the help he needs? Life isn’t the big deal that movies make it out to be. It is the little things. The delights are in the mundane. A cool breeze. A rainy day. Reading. Finding who you are. And accepting it.