Today's Sunday Sentence pictured above goes to those with heavy hearts today. I found out Saturday evening that a student I've known for five years, who graduated in June, passed away this morning. It was sudden and nothing short of a complete tragedy. It has left us all in complete shock.
In this type of situation, everyone has their own story or side in connection to the people around them, and the telling often brings smiles, maybe even laughter, through the tears. For me, Erin was a bright spot in any day. Even though she wasn't in my class her Senior year, she was in my classroom most every day, sometimes just to say hi and sometimes to discuss a book or subject we both found interesting. She was a constant presence in my school book club and happily read through my classroom shelf, telling me which books (that I hadn't yet read) she deemed most worthy. Her last recommendation to me, the last week of her Senior year, was Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh. She left her copy on my desk, even though I told her I didn't have the time to read it. She didn't come back for it for a couple days and when she did, I just smiled and she said, "I knew you wouldn't be able to help yourself."
My other favorite memory is from Prom this year. Erin wanted to get another teacher dancing and asked me what to do. I told her to have the DJ call him up to do YMCA and he would. So the DJ does end up calling him up...and me! Saying that the students requested a dance off, which did not include YMCA. It was so bad - the dancing that is - and most of the Junior and Senior classes were there to witness it, but they loved it and it was all Erin. The minute it was over I shook my finger at her, we threw our arms around each other, and I told her I'd never forgive her. Of course we were both laughing. And that's how she was - always making you smile, even if you had just lost all of your dignity in front of the very people you had to face daily.
Oscar Wilde said, "Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is by far the best ending for one." Why now, at age nineteen, is something no one will ever understand. But the absolute joy and laughter Erin brought to those around her will always be the way in which we remember her.
*picture source: edited from original 4minutewriter.wordpress.com