On December 13, 2002, an eighth grade student at Churchville-Chili Middle School, Brian Scipioni, died unexpectedly of meningitis. I was asked to prepare and read to an emergency staff meeting, and minutes later to the school community, a message of condolence and hope. The message I put together began a nearly nine year record of twice-weekly “Words of Wisdom,” which I wrote and delivered to our school community. Many of my messages are assembled on this website as well as new messages which I hope will help you navigate this really difficult time. Here is the original script from December 16, 2002—as relevant today as it was then. — Mr. Nixon
Words of Wisdom: December 16, 2002
One thing we all share as human beings is that sooner or later we lose someone we love. It may be a grandparents, parent, a child, a student or a friend. Today, we at Churchville-Chili are sharing the loss of Brian Scipioni.
Rabbi Harold Kushner lost his son as a fourteen-year-old, and it caused him to write the book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” In that book, Rabbi Kushner says, “Laws of nature treat everyone alike. They do not make exceptions for good people or useful people. That is why good people get sick and get hurt as much as anyone.”
Rabbi Kushner asks, “Are you capable of forgiving and accepting in love a word which has disappointed you by not being perfect, a world in which there is so much unfairness and cruelty, disease and crime, earthquake and accident? Can you forgive its imperfections and love it because it is capable of containing great beauty and goodness, and because it is the only world we have?”
Today, as we face the loss of a very good young person, Brian Scipioni, remember that we have each other, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and support in dealing with this very difficult time.
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