Last week, I received an email from Dragon’s freshman English teacher. “Mrs. Kim,” the email started, “I hope this email finds you well.”
It turns out that one of the exercises she does every year with her Freshman class is that she has each student write a letter to his “Senior Self.” As this school year comes to a close, she is starting to distribute these letters to the graduating seniors. Dragon would have been a senior. She had just come across Dragon’s letter. The letters are sealed, so she hadn’t read it. She wanted to know whether I wanted it?
Oh boy. So, as a freshman, my son wrote a letter to the person he would become, four years later. But, he is not here to read it. I asked her if she could send it home with Hannah next week. In her email, she had explained that some kids take the exercise seriously, writing down their impressions on their world thus far in life. Other kids are kind of silly about it. Which would it be for Dragon? Would there be secrets? Hopes and dreams? Sage advice? What words of wisdom did my 14 year old have for himself? Would he mention his mother, his family? Would it be a letter to us now from the other side of the grave?
How is it possible that my child is not here to read this??
Infinite love. Infinite sadness.
And then the day got worse.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I received this text from Hannah: “Bridget (one of the class presidents) is preparing her graduation speech and wants to know what you want her to say about Dragon.”
I want her to say nothing.
I want her to say everything.
I love that she is asking this question.
I hate that I am being asked this question.
Dragon won’t get to walk across the stage and pick up his diploma. He won’t get to throw his graduation cap into the air. His role in graduation will be this mention in this speech, and I am grateful for even that.
How do I summarize all that Dragon was in a 30 second sound byte?? Why not just summarize his life in a haiku?
5 syllables, then 7, then 5.
Funny kind handsome bright
Mom it’s going to be okay
I love you Dragon