It is with a weary heart that I write this piece. We had a major loss at our school this week and the sorrow and suffering was deep and immense. The overwhelming outpouring of love and concern was the saving grace of such a tragedy.
I found it particularly hard to see so many young people in the midst of grappling with the inability to feel whole. Each student was trying so ardently to fill the gap, the need to “do something,” utilizing any and all tools available. There were cards, pictures, posters, signs, Facebook pages, twitter messages. It was a barrage of anecdotal attempts at filling the void. As we have visited loss before, and are all familiar with the stages of grief, none of this took anyone by surprise.
What did take many of us adults by surprise and filled us with pride and joy was the enormous “collective.” The school came together as it had never done before. People joined together as “one” in a message of love and support. Although I do not know these families myself, I can imagine that they could not help but be filled with gratitude and more importantly with vast feelings of love and support.
A vigil was announced the evening the two individuals passed at the local high school. Literally hundreds of people came. It was somber and sad. But at the same time it was filled with a vitality of caring the likes the school had not seen nor the community itself had experienced for quite some time.
We all say that bad things often happen for unknown reasons and that we may find good may come of it later. In this instance, the good was easily and readily seen and accepted. This is a community that should be so very proud of all its inhabitants and most importantly of its young people.
The lesson of living life to the fullest was the message learned among the spreading of many hugs and “I love yous.” It was heartening to see young teenage boys, cry without abandon. There was not only no shame, but these young men lead! There was a feeling of openness available to all, to be who they were and to conceal nothing.
I only wish the youth of this community could look outside themselves and see their bravery, kindness and love. I was particularly touched by one young man who shared his grief with our class regarding his own personal struggles and mentioned specifically the importance of paying attention to teenage angst. They feel so strongly at this age, both positive and negative feelings. He mentioned something that will forever stick with me and hopefully with all those in the room where he shared. He drew from his spirituality and stated that we are all created as a “masterpiece.” I do so hope these beautiful young people can come to see that within themselves.
We will all work together as a community to foster this new found cohesiveness and help to insure that the loss of these beautiful young people was not in vain. Let us all as communities of humanity, all take heed and count our blessings and remember to thank those we love around us. Smile to all and keep in mind each day that we are here such a very short time. We must try to live each day as much as possible, as if it were our last.
Tara Ubelhor M.Ed., LPC