Tomorrow our school is hosting a Peace Site dedication ceremony to honor our school's inclusion as a peace site. Our principal, Dr. O, is supposed to be in attendance because he was the main figure behind getting the process rolling. This was before he was diagnosed with ALS, before his body began to fail, before his body stopped being able to breathe or swallow on its own, and before we were told that he had days, weeks, or months left to live.
The senior class is the last class that has really known Dr. O as our leader. This is the same class that was forever changed by two suicides within a month of each other and a fatal car accident all during their freshman year. This class is woefully unprepared for what they are going to see tomorrow.
How do you prepare someone to see the dying? The kids know that he isn't well; they know that ALS is a terminal disease. But in their minds, they see him as they've always seen him. They don't see the wheelchair-bound, 110 lb, oxygen dependent man that will be in front of them tomorrow.
I'm really glad that this dedication ceremony is taking place and that Dr. O will be (hopefully) able to attend. What angers me is the utter lack of concern being shown for the feelings of this senior class. They need to be prepared for what they're going to see before they have to see it with their own eyes. Tomorrow's ceremony will be emotional enough without having the additional shock and trauma of seeing how different Dr. O appears from when we last saw him. I will do my best to prepare the handful of students I see in a day. That's the most I can do, I guess.