I've got fifteen years of teaching under my belt, so perhaps it's statistically inevitable that I have former students who have died.
Still, it's awful every time I hear about it.
It's also weird because the teacher-student relationship is kind of odd anyway. You spend a lot of time in each other's company but fundamentally don't know a lot about each other.
I think what most of us want most of all is to be remembered after we die.
I have been trying to write this for three days, and all I can come up with is a bunch of maudlin, anonymous-sounding crap that doesn't do the people I'm writing about justice. It's also strange to try to stitch into words the weird, fragmentary memories I have of people I knew only as students.
So here's what I will say: I knew these people when they were young and full of potential and had most of life's doors open to them. And I am really sorry that they died so young.
Melissa Barrowclough died in a car accident in 2001. She was twenty-one.
Cushings Fortuna was shot dead in 2006. He was twenty.
Sean Jackson shot himself to death in 2011. He was twenty-six.
Joshua Wright died in a car accident in 2012. He was twenty-six.
Burrell Ramsey-White was shot to death in 2012. He was twenty-six.
If you're reading this and you know me as a teacher and I've missed anyone, please let me know.
And be careful out there.