For Teressa French
My son will be reading the memorial scholarship for today’s program. My mother cannot read the description and hands the script to me. We had revised it across several nights when I was home from college. She always said it is my duty to help these kids pay for college.
I read the write-up as prepared:
Teressa French loved everyone, she strived to help all her peers in and out of the classroom, chapel, and the soccer field. She was a presence of peace through her words. Children flocked to her because she cared. She was taken into Heaven on January twenty-fourth, two thousand and fourteen. This scholarship is given in memory of a student living in Teressa’s example. Please come up to accept this award.
Applause fills the room as I step to the side and hand my mother the certificate with the student’s name on it. Parents in the room dry their eyes while taking videos with their cell phones. Some club members come up to us after the program. That was beautiful. You did an excellent job helping your mother at the end, they tell me. I go through the usual pleasantries that I am always happy to help. He gets the strength from his father’s side. My youngest child read at my mother’s funeral; she tells them. They are a wonderful part of my life.
My mother met with Teressa’s mother a couple of weeks before the program. The other women in the club wanted to start a scholarship in Teressa’s memory and sent my mother to talk to her. When they talked to her about it the first time, she cried. My mother and Teressa’s mother cried over tea and books talking about Teressa who had been killed in a hit-and-run a year before. The driver did not face serious jail time because he wanted to join the Navy and was so, so sorry.
She’s the same age as your younger sibling, she tells me after. You never really get over the death of a loved one. It was hard when Grandma passed. I couldn’t imagine losing one of my babies.
Editor who has an infatuation with horror and fantasy that has only grown with age and a mild-to-moderate obsession with Eve and Genesis 2-3. Twitter: jxmsxne____