Alex died this week. He was part of the class of 2002, my final class of seniors when I taught high school. Alex wasn’t in my class, though his brother Nathan had been 2 years before. I did see Alex play John Proctor in the Crucible, playing opposite two of my dearest students, Sarah as Abigail and Paloma as Elizabeth.
These kids started their senior year to 9/11, and in January, one of their own, a popular boy from the year before (one of mine), died of a heart illness no one knew he had in his dorm room in Santa Barbara.
As we enter Remembrance day, these kids don’t have the grief of those who lost a generation to the the war. They don’t have the fear and grief of living in a country torn apart by war and fighting. But of all my students, they were hit hardest. They had to grow up a little bit faster. And it hasn’t stopped. ALS has taken Alex, and these kids grieve again. (and I’ve done what I know how to do. I’ve commented on post and I’ve sent text messages and set up coffee dates. It’s a good reminder to not let time slip by without stopping to catch up.)
So. People argues about coffee cups (or not). And my final group of high school students post on Facebook tributes to their friend who was a missionary and a father and a good guy and is suddenly (though not unexpectedly) gone, a feeling they know all too well. Rest in peace, Alex. My heart hurts for your family and your friends.