Tag: death

Who was Caleb Brien?


Who was Caleb Brien? Caleb Brien died on Monday, May 13, 2019.  He is the student I’ve been telling you about. Caleb was the sandy-haired, blue eyed boy who sat quietly in the first seat, second row of my second period Literature class.  He often carried to class a tattered copy of some Russian novel […]

Let the healing begin


Let the healing begin When tragedy strikes–when is the right time to move forward? When is it okay to laugh and smile again? For the past 9 years, in the days leading up to then senior prom, I have been performing  “Armstrong’s Awesome Prom Power Point” to my students. It’s a fun presentation mixed with […]

My hardest day as a teacher came this week


My hardest day as a teacher came this week On Monday night a current student of mine passed away. It wasn’t the student I told you about last week. In first period on Tuesday morning I informed my class of 12th graders that one of their classmates was dead. By their reactions, it was clear […]

Leave it to the dead to teach us about living


Leave it to the dead to teach us about living This post is dedicated to JR and LM. Keep fighting kids. It’s worth it. Yesterday, before I received Deb Dauer’s inspirational blog-turned-book, Not Gonna Be a Debbie Downer I highlighted the following sentence in Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’s journal, Meditations: “The whole of present time […]

The morning after tragedy


I recently read screenwriter Eric Roth finished writing a sequel to Forrest Gump on September 10, 2001.  Then September 11th happened. After September 11th, Roth said the story just felt, “meaningless” and trashed the script. And we, the audience, were left forever imagining what could have been. I imagine Eric Roth woke up on the […]

I’m thinking of you, Alex Trebek


~This is a new post~ Friday evening I watched a full episode of Jeorpardy!. I’ve always enjoyed the show (even unsuccessfully attempted an online tryout) but the show airs weekdays at 7 pm, a time I’m usually carting the kids of to some practice or game. My reason for tuning in was part curiosity, part […]

Then I heard my dying friend laugh


My friend is dying. It’s stage 4 and spreading. My friend has more bad days than good ones now. Eating is a problem. Showering is a problem. Steps are a big problem. My friend reminds me to kiss my children, eat good food, drink good alcohol, go to concerts and sing and dance and laugh, […]

How to Save a Life


Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.” ― James Joyce, The Dead Five years ago I was farting my way through grad school. The plan was to graduate with a Master’s degree in educational administration and become a principal. I didn’t really want […]

Candy Land – Student Voices (Guest Post)


Once you’re alive, can you ever really be dead?  Candy Land is a personal narrative written by one of my students, Kayla Paterson. This story, Kayla intertwines the past and the present to explore the power of life, death memories, and board games.  Meet the Writer Kayla Patterson is a 12th grade student at Robbinsville High […]

Celebrating Victory with the Living (and the Dead)


On Superbowl morning I went to Forest Hills Cemertary wearing my Eagles jersey. It’s February in Philadelphia and it’s cold and raining and my son is standing by my side and we’re looking down at the plaque marking the birth and death of my grandparents. Mike and Doreen. I tell them about how the Eagles […]