Being a high school teacher affords me many opportunities to help teens handle life. And loss. It is at once: enlightening, encouraging, painful, and honest. Emotions are raw, understanding often limited, and nearly all experiences are ‘firsts.’ Sadly, some, like birth and death, become second- and third-time experiences for a few. Being there, with a shoulder, a safe place to cry, or a place to celebrate, makes my job a special one.
This year, like many, has seen our share of experiences, but this year, we’ve lost more classmates than a typical year – to car accidents, cancer, and other tragedies. Each is felt deeply. Each teaches lessons. Each helps our teens grow into the people they become.
Peyton, an old soul in her own right and typically outspoken and colorful, was dealing with our most recent loss, Brandie, a beautiful young lady killed tragically on her way home from Spring Break, just a week ago.