Wednesday, January 24, 2007

One of our Students...

One of our students died. The news reports said he died in bed over break. He was an athlete, on the *** team, they said.

I recognized the name because he was in one of my classes a few years ago, a pleasant enough young man, not outstanding amongst the many students. He wasn't super student, but he participated and didn't miss many classes or show up drunk. I knew he was on a team because it came up, but here at NWU, athletics don't run the school mostly, so it wasn't a big deal to me.

But died in bed, over break? Wow. There's got to be more to it than that, though I'll never know.
In the 80s, I remember a code for people who died of AIDS but whose families didn't really want people to know. At least, pretty much people I knew assumed that a young person (often male) who'd died after a "protracted" or "extended" illness died of AIDS. But I don't make that assumption these days, mostly because people aren't so reticent about talking about AIDS or being gay (though IV drug use probably gets hidden more, still).

Here in the Northwoods, though, my mind goes more to some really bad drug or a drinking binge. Or an illness? Something related to his athletics?

I feel sorry for his parents. I can't imagine much harder in life than your child dying.


  1. It's so hard to hear about these things.

    There was a guy in my dorm who died in his sleep like that. They discovered him during a fire (elsewhere in the dorm, not major, but they were checking rooms). He appeared healthy but apparently an unknown heart condition lurked beneath.

  2. I'm so sorry, Bardiac. No idea what it might mean, though.

  3. I had one of my students die on the way home from my class, killed by a drunk driver. He had asked me that day if he could leave a little early because he'd finished his paper and was caught up on everything. I said yes because he was a wonderful student. It's taken me a long time to get over that.

    He had nursed his dying father just a year before, and had had to make a decision about helping his father commit suicide (he didn't do it). I can't imagine how that family (his mom and siblings) coped.

  4. I feel so cynical saying this (sorry, Pi), but my first thought when a young person has died (not known to be ill and no reference to unexpected trauma is given) is suicide. But, no matter what the cause, I agree that there can't be much worse than losing a child.

  5. I'm sorry for your loss, Bardiac. I, too, lost a student over the break. At first suicide was given as the cause of death, but later we found out that he was experimenting with a speed ball and accidentally overdosed.

    No matter what the cause, losing a member of our academic community always hurts.

    My thoughts are with you.


  6. How sad... there seems to me nothing more tragic than the death of a young adult. They have just started to become the adult person they would have been.

    There are many natural ways that a young person could die in bed. My guess is that they may not yet know what killed him.

  7. What a shame--this is always sad.