My son's school experienced a tragedy this week. A student who is in the band with him, was killed in a car accident Monday evening.
As I let my brain and emotions sift through this information yesterday afternoon, I found something I wasn't prepared for. While I didn't know this student, I know that she was part of my son's group of friends. She was a member of the band which is a family for him. It is his home away from home and one of the most important things in his life. As I watch my son go through the grieving process for the first time in his young life, I find myself needing to grieve as well - not for my own loss, but for his and that of his entire school community.
I'm not sure I have ever felt the need to grieve for a community. It is a strange and confusing set of emotions. I am nearly overwhelmed, yet it seems strange and is unexpected. Being new to this community (I have only lived here two years) I guess I didn't realize how much it was becoming a part of me. Especially when his high school isn't part of my daily life as I teach at a different high school on the other side of town.
Perhaps I feel this unseen connection because of the bond of music. For me, this isn't a tragedy that has struck the high school (although it has) as much as it is a tragedy that has struck a high school's Marching Band. In any music group, the emotional and personal binds run deep. Music has the power to bond and unite a previously unrelated group of people. While I don't know their band directors personally, I do know them as professional colleagues. They have suffered a powerful blow to their group and now have to begin the process of healing and rebuilding.
If any one is able to help this group of kids through this difficult time, it is a music teacher. Music has a power to express and to heal. Victor Hugo said, "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words yet cannot remain silent." How interesting and perhaps a little ironic that as I walked into my classroom under a cloud of grief this morning, I was greeted by this quote. Two years ago, when I first moved to this community and took this teaching position, I painted this quote on the wall of my classroom.
As I go through my day with so much inside me that must come out, music will be my tool. I will pray for comfort and peace for the families and the students, and I will sing. I will hug my children a little tighter tonight, and I will listen to music to calm my spirit.
God gave us music so that we might pray when we have no words. To the Seaman High School Marching Vikings, you are in my thoughts and prayers today.
Wishing you all love and peace,