This time I'm not talking about Toddler N or my "close" family. I am talking about My Other Children.
The Children (i.e. young adults) I had the honour and pleasure to meet when I was a teacher in Sweden.
The Children I worried about as so many of them had moved away from home to go to this particular school.
The Children who I know partied all weekends and sometimes in the middle of the week.
The Children who did not always turn up at the Monday morning assembly.
The Children who got ill with fairly simple things such as tonsillitis, flu, gastroenteritis and who did not have their family there to tuck them in, bring them food and keep them company.
The Children who had spent all their money on clothes and other things and therefore not able to buy enough food. How many did I buy and cook food for?
The Children who had not been taught to take care of themselves or a flat before they moved away from home.
The Children who came to me for advice about being safe with their boyfriends/girlfriends.
The Children who came to me to to talk their guilt about terminating a pregnancy.
The Children who came crying when the boyfriend/girlfriend had broken up with them.
The Children who did not come to us.
The Children who did not have the support from home to cope with school and the demands we, the teachers, put on them.
The Children who did not pass the grades, no matter how hard they tried.
The Children who failed the grades because they didn't try.
The Children who did pass the grades without trying - would not having to study last them through Uni? What would happen if it didn't?
The Children who I had to force myself not to let into my flat as I knew I'd never let them leave.
The Children I stayed up for and waiting to receive a text or a call to say they'd gotten home ok after a night out.
The Children who did not get any help from the Doctors when they needed it.
The Children who refused help when they were offered it by friends, doctors, teachers.
The Children who stole my heart.
The Children who are doing so well in their private lives, their professional lives, their "hobbies", their sports, their health.
The Children who are not doing so well.
The Children who liked me.
The Children who didn't like me. At all.
The Children I hear from on a regular basis.
The Children I don't hear from at all.
The Children who made me a better person. A person I liked becoming.
The Children who made me "me".
The Children I love and care for.
I have many of them as my "friends" on FB and even though I may not be in touch with them I still get little updates and tidbits from their lives. Most of them fun and exciting, family additions, but also the sad parts of life, deaths, sorrows and desperation.
Today I read a status update about sadness, sorrow and desperation. I cannot help her. No one can help her because she has refused all help that is possible to get. I wish she could be locked up until she confides in someone about what it is that has hurt her so. But it's not allowed. There are theories. Little whispers from a girl who is so very small and young on the inside but whispers she refused to acknowledge once they had been spoken. Whispers that made me cry, made me throw up, made me talk to other people, made me want to leave, made me want to keep her close forever, made me want to never experience such a world, made me eternally grateful for my life, made me fear for her life, made me fear for people around her as she kept on bringing them down with her unintentionally but also on purpose to make herself feel better, not to be alone.
I wanted to believe she was doing so well. I wanted it so badly. But I also know, have always known that she will never become old. Not for lack of support, not for lack of trying but for being tired of hurting. Nothing and no one can help her, her pain runs too deep. You cannot keep hold of a shadow, she has never allowed herself to be more than a shadow, never allowed anyone to try and get her our of those shadows. When the light comes on, she disappears.
I moved away from that school, left Sweden for the UK almost 7 years ago. I am not the best at keeping in touch. It's but one of my [many] character flaws and one I am trying to overcome and it is one of the reasons I love FB. A quick message here and a quick check in there. But not once in those 7 years have I stopped worrying about her, about any of them. My Other Children that I fear losing.