Katie’s high school graduation is in a little over two weeks. What an exciting time for the kids. Twelve years of mandated school is finally behind them. Some will go on to get jobs and some will go on for further education. Some may not have any idea at all what they’re going to do. But that’s okay because they still have their whole lives ahead of them. They’re standing on the edge of adulthood and the possibilities are endless. They have dreams and plans and whether or not those machinations come to fruition doesn’t really matter right now. The point is they have so much to look forward to.
This is the last week before finals. Today should have been a good day for the students. Today they should have gone to school after a long weekend and tried to focus on their studies, the last week of regular high school classes ever.
Instead it was a somber environment with so much sadness and surreal disbelief. This past Saturday night a young girl named Julie, one of their own, was stabbed to death by her boyfriend. I think most of us have been in a state of shock since hearing about it on Sunday morning. But for the students and teachers it didn’t just sink in this morning, it was driven in with a sledge hammer.
Parents received a letter from the school administration on Sunday morning about the counseling they would have in place when school resumed this morning. A grief counselor actually followed her schedule so he would be in each of her classes. Katie said it was horrible and everybody in the class she shared with Julie, including the grief counselor, was in tears.
I have been in a state of dread all day. Well, for the last two days really, but especially today. I remember when my class had a tragedy and how hard it was to even breathe right after it happened. That was an accident, though. This was not. This was a heinous, horrible, senseless murder. It goes beyond tragedy and straight into horror.
Her parents. Oh my gosh, her parents. They had no idea when she left the house Saturday evening that they would never see her alive again. My heart is in tatters for them. The thoughts that must be going through their minds – questions that will probably haunt them for the rest of their lives.
The counselor told the kids not to try to make sense of this because it can’t be done. I watch all the horrible things that happen on the news and I wonder why. Why are people like this? Why do people hurt other people in this way? What is wrong in them to make them do these things? And then when it happens in your own backyard; when you have a connection with the victim, however slight, it heightens the questions. It makes it all so much more real and so much more confusing.
Katie was understandably subdued when she got home from school today. She didn’t want to go to work tonight and I didn’t want her to go. I wanted to keep her here with me. When she did leave I told her I hoped the evening flew by and to drive safe because it’s rainy. My words were not unusual, but I think the urgency with which I said them probably were. I even made myself stop before I said “I love you”. No doubt that sounds really stupid, but I’m not concerned that she might not know that. I say it all the time. But to say it tonight would have been too desperate. Which probably makes absolutely no sense to anyone but me.
I will be glad when she gets home tonight. Maybe the pit in my stomach will lessen just a little. Julie’s parents can’t say the same thing.
Like everybody else, I want to make this bad thing go away. I want to make it all better. They are foolish wants. The only thing I know to do is pray. So I do.