Death (or, Why My Problems Aren’t So Bad)

So, it has recently come to my attention that my seventh-grade biology teacher has passed away. I learned this through a friend’s post on Facebook (actually, an old crush’s post who is now more like a stranger, but that’s a different tangent), and it has struck me a bit harder than I expected.

Obviously, she was one of my more favorite teachers (I won’t say she was #1 because I was lucky enough to have several very excellent teachers over the years, but she is right up there on the list). I guess I’m feeling an echo of my own mortality and the limited time I have to accomplish something in this life, let me explain why: I remember that this teacher told me (on more than one occasion) that she knew I was destined for great things, and that she would be reading my name in the newspaper someday (it was not widely known back in 1995 that the newspaper industry was doomed to morph or die). I hadn’t tried to visit or talk to her over the years because I didn’t want to disappoint her. I wanted to be able to say to her, “Here, see? Look at the great things I’ve accomplished!” and let her know that way that she was right, and that her hard work teaching paid off. Now that moment will never come, and I won’t catch up with her and compare notes about our lives over the years, and tell her what a great teacher she was.

They haven’t released the cause of death yet, but it seems likely to be suicide (they probably would have said something already if foul play was suspected). She was relatively young still (early 50’s), far too young to be dying of natural causes one would think. Perhaps I shouldn’t jump to such conclusions, but it makes me wonder: why would someone so well-loved, good at their job, surrounded by family, and in good health choose to take their own life? I mean, I toyed with the idea of suicide at a younger age, but I ultimately came to the conclusion that fantasizing about my own funeral and people’s reactions to my passing was just indicative of a desire to live (and a desire for more attention). Obviously, I chose to persist on this mortal coil despite my depression and continual problems moving forward with life. It always seemed to me that she had all the good things you would want from life, and not the silly ones like wealth or fame. There might have been problems that stayed more secret, and I guess its not impossible she could have had a heart attack or something.

It gives me pause to consider all of this, and in my own modest way I really do mourn her passing, I feel it like a pressing sadness in my chest. As death has a tendency to do though, it reminds me once more that I am still alive for the moment and ought to accomplish something with said life. I might not win the Nobel Prize or any great accolades, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try.

…I’m trying to decide if I should go to the funeral or not, it seems to be listed as a private affair.

Death comes
not like some blushing boy
here to escort my sister by
carriage,
but rather a thief
who snatches away
the yet unwritten
future.
A million lines of dialogue
and every dream under the sun
abruptly breaks within his bony
claws,
and I am left to ponder
why she should drift on Charon’s voyage
while I remain in relevant
irrelevancy.

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