Teachers know the expression.
Whenever something happens to a young person in the community where you teach, the first question that comes to mind is: “Was he or she one of mine?” ie. Was this person one of my former students?
If the news is good (they won a scholarship, were on a winning team, helped the community), the feeling is one of pride. “Bravo! I’m so proud of you.” You pat yourself on the back and think, “I played a small role in that.”
But when the news is bad, the grief is overwhelming.
A 17-year-old boy in my neighbourhood died last week and the first question was, “Was he one of mine?”
Sadly, he was.
Seven years ago, I had this bouncy, bubbly, bright-eyed boy in my grade 4 class. He had that long, wavy blond hair that boys often lose when they hit school and a smile that made it easy to forgive his whirlwind nature. He was, even though we aren’t supposed to admit it, one of my favourites. I never forgot him, even though I have probably only seen him once or twice since then. He is forever 10 years old in my mind. He should have gone on to have a wonderful life, full of love and laughter. I know he would have done good in the world. My heart breaks for the loss and aches for his family and friends who have to go on without him.
Rest in peace, Simon. You were one of mine and I will miss you.