Social media lit up last night wth the news that missing Wilde Lake High School teacher Laura Wallen had been found dead. Like many others in our community, although I did not know her, I feel deeply sad. I just can't get it out of my mind. It cast a long shadow over the rest of my day.
Any death due to intimate partner violence is horrific. But something about a teacher, whose job it is to build relationships and inspire trust in young people, makes this news even harder to fathom. The goodness that was Ms. Wallen spread through her teaching and touched the lives of her students. The pain of her loss will do the same.
I read something yesterday on a different topic that I think applies equally well here:
This shows just how fragile teens are. The amount of pressure teens are under these days is absurd. Kids hold a lot of pain inside and are not taught proper coping mechanisms.
I know that the school system is springing into action to provide grief counseling to students and staff. I'm glad they have the resources to do that and that they understand how important it is. This is the beginning of the grieving process. As adults we know how long grieving goes on. Long after we think it should, it persists. Resurfaces in a new guise. Weighs us down with old memories or new fears.
The grief counselors will go away. Life will return to "normal". The damage these young people are carrying will become largely invisible but we need to be mindful it is there.
You think redistricting is scary? Feel threatened by your child going to a different school?
Try having to live every day with the fact that beloved teacher was killed by a man she loved and trusted. Try imagining that it might happen someone else you love. Or that it might happen to you.
Ms. Wallen touched lives. Let us all find a way to help care for and lift up those young people who feel the loss of her light so deeply. They will need us.