Today I received the sad and terrible news that one of my former students overdosed and passed away this week. She had just turned 19.
We were not close, as I am with some of my students, but she always sat on the front row of my first British Lit. class, and those first students I taught will always be some of the most memorable. I do remember that she detested Jonathan Swift. And if I recall rightly, it was she who offered to bring me a new podium for Christmas when I broke mine (right in front of her) by leaning too heavily upon it. But now she has left this world, and it is a sad loss.
I solicit your prayers for her family and her closest friends, who I’m sure are in need (perhaps more than ever) of comfort and hope. Pray for their dependence on Him. Pray that they might “Pour out their hearts like water in the presence of the Lord.” And pray, always pray, that her death would not be in vain.
Today I wished for the rain more than ever – not for me, mostly, but for her family, for her friends. It is, in my opinion, a measure of grace that sometimes the universe weeps with us.
You may not have any taste for poetry (most, I’m afraid do not), but the lines of Robert Frost, I think, do justice to the thought:
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist…
I am reminded, too, of Katherine Paterson’s thoughts on the death of her son’s best friend. Perhaps, in whatever darkness lies ahead or behind, they may be a light for you as well – a reminder that death is not without meaning, nor without the power to redeem:
How does one comfort and reassure? We have tried… But he is not fully healed. Perhaps he will never be, and I am beginning to believe that this is right… Of course he will forget a little. Even now he is making other friendships. His life will go on, though hers could not.
And selfishly I want the pain to ease. But how can I say that I want him to “get over it,” as though having loved and been loved were some sort of disease? I want the joy of knowing her and the sorrow of losing her to be a part of him and to shape him into growing levels of caring and understanding, perhaps as an artist, but certainly as a person.