This week was a double whammy for two colleagues. On Monday, the son of one of my co-workers, himself a teacher, was killed on his way to work when his car slid on ice and collided with a private school bus. He was only 24. He was someone who had also worked at our school (although I didn't know him personally), so it was a devastating blow to the entire staff, those who knew him and those of us who know his mother.
Then, on Wednesday, our director sent out a notice that the son of one of the supervisors had died unexpectedly. He was only 21. I had worked with her for nearly 8 years at my position at my old school. She had often talked of her sons. There has not been a reason given why he died. Again, a devastating blow.
These deaths come on the heels of a November car accident that claimed the life of a 17 year old male classmate of my son and not a year after an April car accident that claimed the life of a 16 year old female classmate. They are almost too much to bear.
As a mother, I wonder how parents survive burying their children. My own grandparents buried two of their children before they themselves died (one of them my mother). I remember my father talking about my uncle's death. His car hit a brick wall just months after my parents were married. My grandparents were so bereaved that my mother temporarily moved back into their house to help them through their daily lives.
I can tell you that each time something like this happens, it awakens that deep fear inside of me. I have teens. One of them drives. Every day that he leaves by himself, I trust that I will see him again. Every time he works late, I pray he is makes it home safely even though he only works 2 minutes away right now. I imagine that when my daughter and later my other son drive, I will be the same way. My worst nightmare is to experience what any of these parents this week and this year have experienced, to have to pick out a casket and a burial outfit and a plot for my child. I think I would collapse and never get up again.
But these young men died way too soon. They shouldn't be gone. They should be dating and planning weddings and having children and laughing and living. Their parents should not be getting sympathy cards. They should not be burying their babies. They should not have to experience this. It's just not fair.