I have great memories of kindergarten. I don’t know why. This is usually where I insert a joke about it being the three greatest years of my life.
I remember we used to play “Mamas and Daddies” and “Doctors and Nurses.” The latter of those usually involved a classmate pretending to give you a shot and feeling your forehead to see if you have a fever.
I don’t know if anyone in my kindergarten class became a nurse or doctor, but it was always fun.
I’ve also been on the planet long enough to remember when nurses wore those triangular caps. They also wore uniform dresses, white hosiery and shoes polished white.
Today, that world is all but gone. Nurses wear scrubs and athletic shoes now.
But they still get pinned. A nurse’s pin is a sign he or she is now an official registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.
I dated a girl who became a nurse. I was there when she got pinned. It was a special time.
I thought about those times the other day when the Daily Fatality Report came into my email box. I look at it every day. People young, old and all points in between die in car crashes. This day I saw five names I had already heard.
Caitlyn Baggett, Morgan Bass, Emily Clark, Abbie DeLoach and Catherine Pittman were nursing students at Georgia Southern University. They were on their way to their last clinical at a Savannah hospital when they were struck by an oncoming tractor-trailer.
I don’t know the complete educational scenario of a nursing student, but they were on the verge of their senior year. They had been working in a teaching hospital and knew the kind of work expected of a nurse and still wanted to pursue their dream. The coveted pin was almost in sight.
Suddenly, it was over.
The pictures showed us beautiful young women with kind eyes and cheerful faces. One has to think how much joy, comfort and healing they would have brought to patients in the years to come. They were also devoted to their alma mater, Georgia Southern and were Eagles through and through.
Some of the things people say at times like this confound me. No, God did not need either more angels or nurses. He has all the angels he needs and we have been told heaven is a place without sick folks.
No, it was not God’s will for that truck driver to not realize the vehicles were stopped and crashed into them. I don’t think God sets out to purposely arrange the demise of his children.
Some answers may come in the detailed investigation and other answers may never come. That’s the part of all this that is the toughest.
I have heard it said while we have words to describe children who have lost parents, we do not have words to describe parents who have lost children. Yes, I know they were young adults, but the people who brought them into the world never expected to see them leave it.
Right about now is the time that is the toughest for people who are grieving. The friends and family have gone about their business. The food brought by caring neighbors is gone. The flowers sent to console are now wilting.
Today, say a prayer for the parents of Caitlyn, Morgan, Emily, Catherine and Abbie. The loss of child, regardless of age, is a pain that lasts a long time.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.