In the past 48 hours two teenagers in our community have died. One, a girl, passed away from a disease that had slowly been torturing her for years. The other, a boy, died while driving his muscle car that he had no idea how to handle. I did not know either one of these children, but I teach children their age.
My teenage theater kids came to class today saddened and shocked. They all knew or knew of these kids but none were really friends with them. And yet, they came to class needing to talk, to understand, to be heard. They didn't get why they felt the way they did and yet I knew that I wasn't supposed to answer them, I was just supposed to let them tell their story.
But what I wanted to say was: you feel this way because when you are a teenager, your social web connects you to your entire world. When one point on that web dies, your web weakens and skews until another person comes along to shore it up. You feel this way because you were suddenly slapped in the face with the fact that teenagers are not immortal. You can fall and get hurt. Your body can betray you. You can drive too fast or veer off course. You feel this way because you are young and dramatic and full of life and when a young life is snuffed out suddenly, your light dims in acknowledgement.
I wanted to say all of those things, but I was the adult in the room. I was the sounding board, the anchor. My job was to just be. But today of all days I pray that the me who I am was enough. Nothing more, nothing less. Just enough.