Thursday, September 16, 2010
Guidance Office Woes
When you work in the guidance department of any educational facility you know that there will be times where your patience is tested, your quick thinking is required, your time management is obliterated, and your heart is fit to bursting.
This being the first week back to school, I'm surprised that there aren't the usual caseloads of drama. There were a few sad stories in the bunch but nothing too serious until Tuesday. We're always looking for monitors to help us in our offices and were happy on Monday to get this cute little freshman girl to help us out during 8th period. She's about 4 feet tall with braces and looked as if she'd been severely burned as a child, but just too cute for words, nonetheless.
My counselor and I cover one half of the 10th graders (573 students and counting). On Tuesday she asked us to introduce her to her freshman counselor and we did.
I come in on Wednesday and my counselor says, "Wait til you hear what's going on with our little chocolate chip". (Nickname the counselor gave her because she's self-conscience about all of her moles). Well, I was not prepared for this:
Our little chocolate chip lives with her mother a few blocks from school, her parents were divorced and she spends her summers with her dad in California. Turns out the father suffered from severe depression and with no other relatives besides her dad, she went for her visit as usual this summer. Her father chose this time to go off of his medication and while she was at home with him, he got into his car in the garage, dosed himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire. This sweet little girl, all alone in another state, had to watch her father burn himself to death.
This is how I found out that she hadn't been burned but has that unusual birth marking (forgot what it's called). I was speechless. I could not even begin to imagine what this girl must be going through. Today she came in as her usual peppy self to help us out but first sat down and whispered, "I just wanted to let you guys know that my dad is dead, but I don't want to talk about it just yet." We explained that we understood and would be there for her when she was ready to talk, both of us trying not to get emotional.
I suffered from clinical depression for years before finding out it was my thyroid that was causing the problem. I know what that pain, anxiety, and desolation feels like but...but I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that her father had to do it right then and right there with his 13 year old daughter watching helplessly. I just...the pain of depression is unbearable, but for me when others were hurting because of me it only made me want to fix it, fix me! I know everyone's pain is different, but my God, to leave your child to physically bear witness to it for the rest of her life? I just don't know...