What do you even say?

On Saturday I learned that a former student died of leukemia.

He was in my class last year. He left school before the year was over, to receive treatments. He visited a couple times this year. He always looked so sick, but I guess I still thought he was going to get better.

He didn’t.

I don’t have many 7th graders, so I’m not expecting many of my students to be greatly affected, but the whole school will know about it. It will be talked about, and I will have to respond appropriately, without crying, which I can’t even manage as I type this. I’m definitely going to cry tomorrow if someone brings it up. I hate crying in front of my students.

He was a really great kid. He made me laugh. A lot, even when I shouldn’t have been laughing. He was the kid who said things that made me turn around and laugh at the white board so the class wouldn’t see.

I can’t believe he is gone.


  1. I am sorry. The death of someone so young is hard and then add in knowing him – it makes it worse. My best friends mother succumbed to cancer this weekend. It has been one of the hardest things to experience.

  2. I’m really sorry. The loss of a child is horrific. My friend’s nephew was 13 when he died of leukemia almost 2 years ago and I’d never met him, but knew his story well, and it killed me inside. It took a long time to not get upset when he’d come up in conversation, and I’d never met him. This is going to be hard, I imagine, for a long time given that you had a relationship with him. Be kind to yourself and it is ok to cry in front of the students. They expect it because their parents are probably doing the same and most had probably never met him (like my situation).

    I’m sending you love.

  3. It is ok for adults to show that grief is real and we feel it. And that we also need to keep moving forward through our day while grieving. I am very sorry for his family, all the friends and people who knew him. Hope there is lots of kleenex and also laughter at what he did that was funny, and that his joy is celebrated too.
    Good wishes!

  4. How awful. 🙁

    I agree that it’s okay to cry in front of the students. Kids need to know it’s okay to express grief and that we ALL feel it. I’m sorry to hear about this. 🙁

  5. Oh I’m so sorry. This is so tragic, especially so since the survival rate for pediatric leukemia is so much higher now. Our ped is in his 70s and he told me once that when he first started practicing it was a death sentence but today the survival rate is in the 90s %.

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