I was worried about today, partly for how I might be unable to keep my emotions in check during class (I know that seems unhealthy, but if ever you catch me crying you'll understand the problem; there is gasping and gobs of fluid and unintelligible high-pitched squeaks) but mostly for the kids who would be deeply devastated by the loss of their classmate. Whether they knew him well or not, understanding death at this age and under these circumstances is difficult. Painful. Like being sucker-punched in the stomach and shoved to the floor.
I had a dream just before waking this morning about the young man who died. Really, it was about a type of memorial service for him and of course as dreams go, there were absurd parts (riding a flying train) and parts that didn't make sense (we were in Spokane, which is not where we live, and it looked more like San Francisco). The one individual I recognized was another student at our school who has had more hardship and grief in his young life than is imaginable. Yet the overwhelming feeling in the dream was contentment. This boy was showing a video of all the things he remembered about the classmate; while he narrated, he was smiling and in good spirits. When I saw this student at school today, I told him about the dream and how it was such a joy to me to see him in this calm, confident, and reassuring role. He seemed a bit embarrassed (I tried to downplay the I had a dream about you! weirdness of it) but ultimately thanked me for telling him about it and then said, "What a great way to wake up, huh?"
Yes. Especially today, yes.
Most of the time, I think I'm getting far more from this job than my students are.