I forgive you. I don’t know if you need to hear this or I just need to say it, but there it is. I forgive you. It has been six years since Luke passed away and if I am honest, there weren’t many of those that I didn’t think of you with anger in my heart. It is hard losing a child. Losing a child to suicide adds another difficult layer to try and process. And in those early days, you are consumed with understanding the *why*. For me, a lot of that became you.
There were many factors that played into this belief for me. You and Luke had been going at it for two years… practically on the daily, before he passed away. Which meant that you had been affecting our whole family for that same amount of time. Luke’s reactions to his interactions with you just broke my heart. Every time. I always wished you could have seen that side of him. His sensitive side. His damaged side. His battered side. And my goodness was he battered. Now, please know I get it. The freaking rules reigned supreme. And it was your job to enforce them. With the way Luke was at that time, and the way the school system and consequences are set up, the two of you never stood a chance of getting along. A match made in hell.
But you see, we have a better perspective now of what life must have been like for you every day. Luke Inwood was no angel, lol. Being on the wrong side of his biting remarks wasn’t fun for anyone and I know you must have received more than your fair share. Did you feel sick to your stomach every time you found out he had another dhall or had upset a teacher and you were the one that had to deal with him? Did you sit at your dinner table sharing stories about this kid you just couldn’t reach? I’ll never know. I do know that you most likely simply wanted to do your job. You couldn’t possibly have anticipated that Luke’s feelings of being attacked at school would be a cog in the wheel that would lead to his death.
And that is the truth of it. School was only one of many factors that led to Luke dying by suicide. I believe that and I want you to believe that. We were all so emotional after Luke passed away and the kids helped us feed into the black mark that became Wachusett. And you. I am sorry for this, but it is true. So I write this now, hoping that guilt doesn’t eat away at you. Not that you were guilty, but I haven’t met anyone who knew Luke closely that doesn’t feel they were somehow partly responsible for what happened. We all carried it. I still carry it on my hard days. But you are not the reason Luke passed away. I don’t know if you have ever read my blogs before but I have documented for all to see the complex human being that was Luke Inwood. There were a million little things that added up to the moment Luke left the building that day. You just had the misfortune of being the last.
Raising Luke and losing Luke has made me a better teacher. I lead with my heart first. Always. I understand that behind every behavior is a broken soul crying for help and that it is my job not to consequence, not to put a band-aid on it, but to dig in and figure out the why and to help. I hope that you are doing the same. I hope that after losing not one student but two to suicide in the last few years, that compassion has taken a front seat in the high school classroom. And if not, I am first in line to help out on that initiative. #NotOneMore
I forgive you. I don’t know if you needed to hear that, but I definitely needed to say it. It has been six years since the King walked the halls of your school and the shadow of his death was long. But I don’t have room in my heart for anger or ill feelings any more. We all just did our best, didn’t we? Luke was…well, he was something, lol. I want you to know that if we meet someday… I will hug you if you will let me. We will look one another in the eye and see the pain we each carry for letting this child down. And we will cry. I will ask you to forgive me for being angry with you for so long. Hopefully you say yes, but I will understand if you don’t know what to say. Maybe we share a funny story or two of Luke in the day. Maybe I fill you in on how well Logan is doing. And then we will go our own way. Two people whose paths and stories are forever entwined. Until then….
Wishing you peace –