The Death of Her Senior Year

We suspected it was terminal. The announcement of the two week break from classes that morphed into three followed by a 10 day Spring break was our first indication that things didn’t look good. We knew not to expect a miracle, but, how could we not hope?

Spring Break completed, the Governor’s press conference pronounced the 2019-2020 school year as we had come to know it, DOA due to COVID19.

“For the remainder of this school year, our young people will continue to go to school remotely”.

He didn’t mean to break our hearts. He didn’t mean to steal her Capstone project, her Senior prom, her baccalaureate, her graduation. He didn’t intend that her final high school experience was only acknowledged because a friend paused as they emptied lockers to say, “Wait. Is this our last day of high school”?

We know the proclamation was well intended. We need to protect ourselves and others. We understand no one wants the Class of 2020 to lose out on their high school traditions, pages in their Senior yearbook, and the ability to bond together as a class as their teachers, principal and parents launch them into the world of adulthood.

The damage is great. The losses pile up and we may not have tallied them. There is speculation that her first semester of college may need to sacrifice Freshman orientation, packing up her bedroom to move into a dorm, a first day of classes with new friends, and learning to balance the subtle struggle of new found independence with homesickness.

I know my daughter will recover. We have talked about her loss on long walks around the neighborhood, while we make dinner, and in her bedroom as she struggled to choose a photo to submit for the high school Instagram post honoring the Senior class. She is strong. She is resilient. But, as her mother, I don’t want this pain to be part of her life.

I realize life is full of disappointments, grief and struggle. I realize she will have many more milestones to honor and celebrate. I pray I will be there to witness them too.

But for now, please don’t tell me it will be ok. Please, don’t remind me that tomorrow will bring hope, promise, and a vaccine for community health.

Please, just sit along beside us, and let us mourn. We need more than a moment to acknowledge this loss. We need time to absorb the harsh reality of a changed life. We need to grieve the death of her Senior year.