Sunday, May 20, 2012

We are a family, like a giant tree

I can’t believe I lost a student.  I’ve never lost a student before.  Even with all the deaths at the university this year… it was never one of mine.

It’s so different.  It’s beyond… friendship, or acquaintanceship.  There’s almost (ALMOST) something parental that goes into it.  That genuine investment in hir future, in hir success, in hir happiness.  And to have that taken away so abruptly.
It ages you.

I have never felt so old.  I feel old.  Emotionally.  Mentally.  I lost part of my family.  My obscenely large, 25 person family.  Part of my heart.  Part of my love.  All the pieces that went into her.

There’s always that sense of injustice when you lose someone so young in life.  It’s worse when you were just helping that person make plans for hir life.  When it’s someone you were watching just beginning to blossom.  Through you.  With you.  Maybe partially because of you.

Anyone working with students knows that they teach you and grow you often just as much as you do for them.  I cherish all the lessons and impacts she’s made.  I miss the opportunity to have more.

It feels so strange because I was planning on never really seeing her again, since I left the university.  In many ways, my plans are not changing because of this.  But it just feels so different.  There is an aching in the knowledge.  And a feeling that it’s all surreal, that I can’t quite shake.  Like, maybe if I just keep avoiding the topic, or avoid seeing her tomorrow at the wake, or on Tuesday at the funeral, I can just pretend that she’s still there at the university.  Talking with her new supervisor.  Continuing to grow and be.  And live.

It’d be easier to go that route.

I miss her.

It’s weird.  I don’t think we often talk about all the different families we create.  I had them in undergrad.  I had them in grad school.  I assume I will have more in the years to come.  She was a part of my family.  Maybe we didn’t know all the intimate details, but we were a part of that together.  Even closer, in many ways, because I directly supervised her.

I lost family.
The rest of my family is broken without her.  I am trying to stay strong for them, to be there for them.  To maintain myself as a support pillar, as they process the loss of a friend, a sister.
Our hearts are broken.
My heart is broken.

“For, nowadays, the world is lit by lightning!  Blow out your candles, Laura—and so—goodbye…” – The Glass Menagerie