Tuesday, February 5, 2008

An unforgettable phone call

I remember the phone call distinctly. When I looked to see who was calling, the caller ID indicated it was one of my closest students. I picked up the phone with a cheerful, "Hello, friend." But something in her voice told me there was a problem. And in fact there was. She called to inform me that one of my former youth group students had committed suicide.
My mind went nuts. How on earth could this be? Part of me wanted to argue, part of me questioned if this student had her facts right, part of me couldn't believe that I hadn't fallen into a heap on the floor. I beat my head on the table and tried to talk myself out of throwing up. I thanked this friend for letting me know and hung up the phone as I tried to gather my head. I looked over at my daughter and tears started to form. I grabbed her out of the high chair and pulled her into my body. Come to think of it, I probably squeezed her so tightly that the two year old in her didn't know what to do. There I held my daughter in my arms and all I could think about was that poor, precious mother. She shared the same memories of squeezing her little girl. She could recall baking cookies, making mud pies and everything else that goes along with having a beautiful little girl. And as I sat there and pondered how she had no idea this day would come, I was overwhelmed with grief. I mean, I had lost my student, but this mom had lost a portion of herself. They were intertwined.
I squeezed my daughter a little closer that day. I shared many more "I love you's" and sappy, weepy moments with her. I started praying for all that she will face as she continues to be out in the real world. And I started praying that God would somehow comfort that mother.

There is so much more that I want to write. From what it was like attending the funeral to just trying to process this horrible experience to guilt over the things left unsaid to everything else in between. But for today, that's enough.

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