At the end of an extremely sad and stressful week, I walked up the sidewalk to the church to attend the visitation and vigil for a student. A young man in a black suit came along behind me and said, "Miss? Miss?" I thought he was going to tell me I had dropped something, or ask me about the baby bird nearby that must have fallen out of its nest on this 104 degree day.
"Did you know the deceased, miss?" Well, yes. That is generally why one goes to funerals.
"Friend or family?" Teacher.
"How would you describe, uh," he checks his Blackberry, then says the child's name.
"Sweet. Excuse me, I have to go now."
"Could you describe her or your reactions to her death for us? We're from Channel 11 News and we just want to get some impressions of her so others will know." A chubby guy with a big camera on a monopod appears from behind a parked car.
"No. I could not do that."
"Are you sure?"
"I absolutely will not do that."
They turned back to set up their approach to the next mourner.
Life isn't fair. My student didn't make it. The baby bird on the hot sidewalk didn't either. Walking back to my car after the service, the baby bird had been covered with a white paper napkin held down around the edges with a border of twigs and pebbles. Maybe you can see it on CBS 11 at ten. I won't.
© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder