I just found out one of my master's students died. He had been ill for a while, but evidently the pain got to be too much. The details aren't entirely clear, but either accidentally, or on purpose, he took too many pain pills.
I found out via e-mail. I don't know if any of you have had the same experience of seeing an e-mail entitled simply with a name. You open it up, and the stark news hits.
Students are not supposed to die before their professors. There's something Homerically wrong about it.
J.E. was pugnacious, argumentative, maddening, irascible. He swore and smoked. He was un-P.C. to the extreme. He would most definitely win the "Most Likely to Climb the Clock Tower" Award. He drove me crazy. I liked him immensely. I couldn't make him learn his Latin verb forms even though I met with him every other day, on my own time, mind you. We argued all the time. He loved his dog. He always brought hard candy.
How can someone so vividly alive be dead? And if there is something after this life (and God knows lately I have had some serious periods of doubt) where will J. end up? How far does God's mercy extend?
May the earth lie light upon thee.