Lessons from Seth

backpack injuries


He raced into the classroom as the bell sounded, the weight of his books in the backpack tossing him over onto the sticky, beige linoleum.  For what seemed like an eternity, I stood dumbfounded wondering if and how I should help him.  He clearly wanted no help from me.

I often pondered before that moment, too, how painful is a neoplasm in the brain for a child of thirteen years.  How much more must the sting of solitude be, of being ‘different’, of losing hair with radiation treatments and chemotherapy…how very much more painful it all must be!

As he rolled over onto his side, the backpack seemed to weigh him down.  He likely carried every book he owned, just to feel the reality of possessing something tangible, something his, something upon which he could depend to be there whenever he desired to open, read and learn.  Friends were probably not that reliable in life. Nor were his circumstances.  The weight of the backpack weighed him down, but rocking, he leveraged the weight to his advantage, rolled on his side and rose steadily without wanting or needing any help.

His death arrived in May of his graduation year, after he had received word of being accepted into Notre Dame.  For Seth, each day offered the opportunity of challenge and the joy of overcoming some of them totally on his own.    Lessons like the ones Seth’s life mirrored surround us every day…we need only look into life and take moments to connect.


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