It's 4:45 p.m. and still bright daylight, so we are making progress. However, my heart is heavy today. One of my students who I had three years ago died after a long and painful battle with cancer. His funeral service was today.
To me, there is nothing so heart-wrenching as burying a child. Life is no cakewalk, but we still prefer that everyone get a chance to muddle through it, at least past the age of 25. My student was 17.
I had him as a freshman, before his illness began. He was "that kind" of freshman boy, full of energy, lots of friends, and very little (actually none) interest in English class. So he wound up sitting right in the front, right by my desk, for most of the year. (I tend to do this with "those kind" of boys.)
This student told me he hated to read. He'd never found a book he liked. Then I handed him a few of my carefully curated young adult urban lit novels, and he started reading. I can still see him turning the pages, lost to the world, right in front, next to me.
Today his friends looked shell-shocked, and his family looked worse. No amount of faith in God and Jesus makes this easy to bear ... I'm sorry, that's just the way it is.
This young man had a beautiful smile and was full of antics. I'll miss seeing him cross the stage for his diploma this spring.
I petitioned the Orishas to find him and acquaint him with the Ancients of his line. For good measure, as I was in a Baptist church in downtown Camden, I asked Jesus to please allow this to happen.
May his ancestors greet him. May he find his way to the Ancestors in the Old World, before they were sent to these hostile shores.