It all happened at an uncle's home. The two brothers were playing "good guy, bad guy" when they took time out to go in for a drink. The oldest brother, who was a second grader in my school, took his kindergarten brother into the bedroom and showed him a real gun, just where his uncle hid it. Big brother pointed the gun, and it went off with a loud bang! Little brother was instantly dead. How do you get over a tragedy like this? It is impossible.
After the funeral, the brother came to school and existed in his classroom. I talked to him about his brother and it was not easy. Tears were hard to come by, while the instant of the accident was impossible to recollect. I wondered how the parents were doing and went by to see them.
"We've never been stronger," the dad greeted me. "We are doing Bible studies and our marriage is stronger than ever. Our son's death has only strengthened us in all aspects," the father concluded.
Spring found us on the soccer field. The father had his own team with his son on it. I didn't have that much to do with him, but considered the parents as friends. I was a certified referee and happened to be refing his game. There are so many calls in a game that it is easy to lose track of specific plays and calls.
"That was a terrible call!" the father screamed as his team was leaving the field for half-time. The dad was angry but the game was still close. It was anyones game. "You are obviously calling for the other team. I have had it with you!" he shouted.
The son moved on out of my school, and I had nothing to do with him from then on. I often wondered how he was doing and how his family was holding up, but without kids in school, there was no way to know.
Four years later I was in my office when a teacher came down early in the morning.
"Mr. Hill, we have a girl down in first grade that needs you. Can you come down as soon as possible?"
Needs me? It was the first of the school year and I found stranded kindergartners everywhere, but it was seldom that I had first graders who needed the counselor.
Sure enough, when I reached the first grade we had a cute little first grade girl standing outside her classroom, refusing to go in. I had no idea who she was and only knew her by her first name. I quickly grabbed her hand and said, "Come on with me. You don't have to go in the classroom. You can be in my classroom right now." The tears subsided as she struggled to keep up with me when I turned the corner and went into my office. There were desks out and tables set up and a place in the middle of the floor for toys.
"This can be your classroom right now, until you are ready to go into your own classroom. I've got a puzzle for you to finish." The puzzle was made just for little first grade hands, and the first grader was soon finishing the puzzle.
In about 45 minutes I took her back to her classroom.
"Let's see what your class is doing and what your teacher is working on," I said as we slowly made it to her room. By the time we had arrived, the youngster was interested in what was going on in her classroom. We went in and sat down, " the first grader at her own table, and listened to the teacher as she explained the lesson. Soon our first grader had joined in with her classmates to finish the lesson.