So much on my mind these days. It all goes in circles, seems to link, then falls apart into fragments again.
I have one class that I don't feel I'm reaching. Granted it's primarily first year students at 8 o'clock in the morning, but still! I hate that feeling of looking out and seeing empty or bored or confused eyes. I've talked to my department chair and repeatedly to the class. It's just strange, because I teach the same class at 1 PM and the students are much more engaged, lively, up for debate, and willing to ask questions.
My 17-year-old niece is pregnant and, out of fear of everyone's opinions, hid it for five-and-a-half months. Her daughter is due December 1. She just began receiving medical care mid-August. My feelings are a mix of worry and anticipation.
My 18-year-old niece is diabetic and not taking her insulin properly. She's having high glucose levels--I don't know all the correct terminology, but hers has been up in the hundreds. They're checking it everyday at school now. She doesn't get it. There are so many other things she's worried about--am I going to take her shopping for dresses to wear for homecoming since she's on the court? Who's going to do her hair? Will I help her fill out her ACT form (of course, helping turned in to my filling the tedious thing out by myself)? How can she ask my parents for the money for the deposit on her senior supplies? On and on and on.
My questions are much different. How long before there is irreparable damage to her organs? What is the "sugar coma" that I always hear people speak of? How do I get through to an 18-year-old?
And then there is so much sickness and death right now in this small area. My nieces' aunt is in a coma in a hospital in New Orleans. Her kidneys failed in her early 20s. She received a transplant a few weeks ago (hence the New Orleans hospital). Her body is apparently rejecting it. We don't know if she will live or die. She's 26-years-old.
Then, there is Petey. Whom I taught in fifth grade. Who was murdered some days ago. And the stories are swirling around--that her boyfriend and his brother killed her because she told someone they broke into a house; that white people in the area will be seeking vengeance (Petey was white, her boyfriend, the primary suspect, is black); that white parents are treating her as a model, warning their daughters why they should not be involved with black men. I can't tell you how many people have asked me, in hushed voices, "Does it seem like the white people are acting funny now?" I have been warned not to go out at night by myself. I don't believe all of the retribution rumors. But part of me remembers that I have not been in the area for six years and that I can't not underestimate anything.
A friend's mother died of cancer. At her wake, my friend said her chest felt as if it was caving in and it was so hard just to lift her head.
Just so much right now.