Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unspeakable Tragedy

A child from my community died today. An unspeakable, unimaginable tragedy has occurred. A mother sent her child to school and he ended up dead.

The facts that are known are that he was found "unresponsive" yesterday in a bathroom. A bathroom in a school that my daughter went to last year. The police say that there is no evidence of foul play. School administrators say no other child is in danger.

How do they know?

My child’s therapist tells me that 10 year old boys almost NEVER hang themselves—jump in front of trains, throw themselves off buildings yes, but hanging takes a lot of planning. So we will wait and find out what happened.

We may never find out why.

In almost every sci fi book, movie or tv show, when it is time for the characters to go from one planet to another, or one time zone to another, there is a transition: Beam Me Up Scotty, Enter the Stargate and fall through the wormhole in space, Dr. Who and his Tardis (Time and Relative Dimension in Space). Whenever you transition, it is always a bit dangerous—there is always the episode or incident where something happens as you transition and you fail to materialize or show up on the other side. In this episode, everyone goes to heroic lengths to get you back and whole on the other side.

Children’s lives are full of Transitions. From home to school, class to playground, from home class to gym class, out of school to home again, or extended care program.

We need to pay attention to the transition almost more than the destinations, because its in the transitions that most space travelers get lost. The school systems here are not so good at this. My children, sensitive as rare tender aliens, have found this to be so. We have had a few occasions where they failed to attend or notice. I have screamed like a bloody banshee. And like Cassandra, I warned them.

My children find the school lunch rooms to be their worst a nightmare—a district wide answer to the vast chaos of deep space. You could lose an entire race of beings in that madhouse.

Some children have a tough time navigating the G force of so many transmigrations in a day—their home ship may not be the big safe order of an Enterprise, or they may be aliens unaccustomed to our atmosphere. Maybe they do not speak our language. We may never know why this child did not make it through the wormhole to the other side.

When we are having trouble getting around in the galaxy, we need a Yoda and the Force to help. It is time to figure out what that looks like for our community. Maybe parent guides at transition points? I am good at questions, a little spotty on answers, but at this point I will try anything.

As I keep saying we are so worried about the numbers of what is going on in the class on the paper that we are losing sight of the actual spiritual, emotional, social, precious irreplaceable child. Even though I do not consider myself to be wise, and I certainly do not have the ears of Yoda for it—I volunteer here and now to be a Jedi Master for all the children in my town. I will pay attention to the transitions. I will keep my eyes and ears open


Julie said...


Well spoken. Indeed this is a horrific tragedy, and it would serve us all well to become the village to step up for all of our children.

2KoP said...

Great post. We are still all very shaken over this tragedy. I find transitions to be so interesting. Some of us seem to glide through even the most difficult transitions gracefully — welcoming the new, embracing the challenge. Others are thrown by even the slightest changes and bumps in the road. I wonder what we can learn from the former and how we can help smooth the way for the latter.