Monday, July 23, 2018

The Bittersweet

I love keeping in touch with former students. I love it. This is one of my favorite things about social media. I love celebrating joys with them... but of course, there's also major sorrows.

Today was a roller coaster of emotions.

I started by meeting with Jorge's Abuela and explaining to her why a lawyer that I talked to thinks we shouldn't open up Jorge's case again, and that he probably will have to serve the majority of his sentence.

She's a strong woman, but she's also very lonely and very sad. She's had more heartbreak in her life than I can imagine and she's done almost all of it alone. My friend Mitali and I sat with her (it was so hard not to just keep talking) and watched her cry and listened. Half the time, I couldn't understand what she was saying because it was in Spanish and more importantly, she's very soft-spoken. But she just needed someone to listen.

I'm hoping that having people with her on this journey helps, but I want to do something more concrete. She's so sad. She's faced so many obstacles that I'm honestly not sure how she's still getting up every day, but she does.

Then I came home and sent this baby blanket to a former student, Sammie, who is going to be a father in a couple of months. This young man has not had an easy life, not at all. So, when I got a message from him that was just a sonogram, I was so excited to make him a blanket, pray over it, and hope it shows love.

I sent it and messaged him telling him. He said "Nia was my cousin."

Well, if you live in or near Oakland, you know who Nia was. Nia was killed by stabbing recently, on the commuter train. I think she was about 18. I was already somewhat heartbroken about this in general, and then found out that one of my beloved students is facing yet another tragedy... well, it became a lot more real. He's pouring out his feelings to me in messenger and I can't do anything other than listen.

Now I'm starting another baby blanket, for another former student. She's going to be an amazing mom and wants to be a doula and pass on her nurturing to others also.

It's been a roller coaster. I'm exhausted. And of course, how I'm feeling is nothing compared to these kids.

Yes, I still call them kids. They'll always be my kids. I love them so much and I just want to do more.