Sad

 My first real memory of Little Stan (His dad was also named Stan, and even though I’m sure he dropped the “little” a long time ago, I’ve always known him as thatim was around the time that he was 15 and I was 9: he had just come home from his first stay at a center ; I spent forever making a sign that said “Welcome Home” for him and he told me that he was so impressed by the way I made all of the shadows on the letters look real. One of the last times I heard from him was actually through a letter that he wrote to my mawmaw. She gave him a copy of an essay that I wrote about some of the struggles I went through when I was younger and this is part of what he wrote in response. “I read Leah’s testimony. I just got the chills and a great feeling of hope. Please tell her that she touched me as I often doubt my stay here, but she gave me the motivation to keep on going. I tell you the truth just from hearing how she didn’t use drugs or alcohol during her stressing situations, tell her that even though she is younger than me, that I respect her even more for not gong down a different road like me. She would have had a good excuse to do it, but she is a strong minded person with a good head on her shoulders.” It meant so much to me for him to say that and I really don’t think he had any idea that his letter was encouraging to me. I guess we never really know how much our words and actions can mean to another person.

Little Stan has been living with his parents (Stan and Betty) since he got out of jail a year ago. Sometime late Monday night, he came home and was obviously high. Dealing with Little Stan’s drug habits has been very hard for their family, so when my aunt discovered that he’d been using again, she realized that there was nothing more they could do for him. My uncle got him into the car and brought him to my mawmaw’s house. Tuesday morning, my mawmaw wasn’t able to wake him up, so she called Stan and asked him to come over. When he got there, he realized that Little Stan had died and they called the coroner. He had been dead for 8 hours by the time the coronor got there. They think that he over dosed, but it’s also possible that he choked and didn’t wake up because he was so far gone on whichever drug he’d taken that night. During the last 15 years he’s lived with his parents; stayed with my mawmaw; and been in various different juvenile delequent centers, jails, rehabs, etc.

I don’t think that you can ever prepare yourself for something like this. It seems that no matter how much you tell yourself the facts about a situation, they never really reach your heart. I’ve learned that hope is a very very strong thing, but sometimes you don’t realize it’s there until there is no room for it anymore. 

This may sound pretty “liberal” for me, but sometimes it’s hard not to wonder about people like Stan. Society has certain rules, but what do we do for people that don’t or can’t fit into those rules? Some of this thinking stems from reading a lot about people who are gifted. I know that Stan was a brilliant person, so why would he get involved in the things that he did? Although his actions were his alone, I wonder how much of a difference better teaching, etc. would have made. I have another cousin who is Dyslexic, and even though he is a very smart person and has many capabilities, he’s always been treated as if he is “bad.” This has slowly changed him into the kind of person that his family and teachers have always treated him as. Most children who are very smart have discipline problems in school BECAUSE THEY ARE BORED. I think that our school systems need to stop  aiming classes toward the children that are ill-behaved because they don’t care, and need to start making classes the kind that won’t bore the “smart kids.” The kids who don’t care are going to do badly no matter how easy you make the class, but the gifted people are usually only “bad” because the class is too easy. Like I said, no one made Little Stan do drugs. It’s true that he could have overcome all of those things if only he’d had the will power to do so. Maybe though, we should think about people like him without immediately judging their actions, and wonder what we can do to help. 

I’ve got to go pack now, but before I leave, I want to say thank you to all of the teachers who pay attention to the kid who may be a little bit different or annoying; you never know the difference you’ve made in that life. If you read my “such a gifted child” blog, you’ll find that one of the questions was about the funniest moment in my life. I assure you that it was quite weird and annoying to the entire staff of the school, but instead of ostracising me, they helped my parents and teacher find ways to keep me interested. I don’t know how much time they spent coming up with activities for me, but I do know that I appreciate it; who knows what would be now if it weren’t for the teachers who took the time to really teach me.

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3 Responses

  1. I’m sorry, Leah. That’s hard. I remember little Stan, too, but to me he’s a little boy. Hard for me to imagine that he let it get to that. I’ll be thinking of you.

  2. Sorry for your loss.

  3. Sorry to hear of this Leah. Thinking of you.

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