by Jeffrey Carter
Our students are grieving today. Not as much as three of their classmates, but the heaviness in the building at noon today was palpable.
Two of our vocal performance majors have each lost a parent in the last 36 hours.
One of our songwriting majors lost a best friend over the weekend, as a result of a car accident.
None of these deaths were expected.
None can be explained.
But they are very real, and our closely-knit family of students, especially our singers and our freshman class, are hurting for their friends.
Losing a parent. It’s never easy, and no matter how expected, it’s a blow. For a college student whose mother or father was apparently in good health, this blow is enormous. Our two students will need our love and support.
One of the harsh realities of common lives is that we share, quite often deeply and meaningfully, but not at the same pace or in the same way. Our nature is to want to do something in the immediate moment, to help the griever, and then to move on, all while the person closest to the loss is trying to cope with a new reality. We don’t know what to say, and we don’t know when to say it, and so we are often silent. This can come across as a lack of caring, and the person who is grieving most may be angry that others don’t recognize his or her pain.
This page from Cornell provides some really helpful insights and hints about students and grief: http://www.cornellcollege.edu/counseling/student-resources/grief.shtml. This is a good read for adults and students alike.
In addition, a colleague sent me today a very helpful article: How not to say the wrong thing.
And my advice before bed this evening? Hug someone you love. Pay forward. Entwine your part of the world with love and happiness. Be the light in the darkness.