Viewings and Funerals and Bad Impulses

I’m going to a viewing today for a former student of mine. It’s a particularly hard thing to do, not just because he was a former student, but because he was a sweet boy and I worked with his father. When you work in a school, the children of coworkers are often the children you know best, because they are the kids you see most often. Like you, they have to attend every event and they are there early and often leave late. So you know these kids and you usually like them. 

I liked John. He was very likable. Everyone liked him. He was that guy, not a star, not a clown, just a good, solid guy that everyone liked. His father adored him. We all understood why. 

What’s more difficult to understand is John’s death. He died skateboarding while holding on to a friend’s truck. I feel certain that if someone had asked him if that was a good idea, and he’d thought about it, he would have said no. He was not a stupid guy. He’d been accepted into college to study nursing. He’d been doing ride-alongs with the fire department to get his EMT. He was bright. He was going places. He had a plan. Then he did something stupid and died. 

Impulse. It’s amazing it doesn’t kill us all. Why the human brain between the ages of 12 and 25 seems to periodically lose it’s sense of self-preservation is a scary wonder. Those of us, who survive those years, sometimes forget how dangerous they can be. It’s a miracle any of us survive and a tragedy that some of us don’t. John’s death is a tragedy.

Today will not be a good day.

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