Today was Jerry’s funeral. The youngest three grades didn’t attend, but all the other students who wanted to were given the chance, and all but a handful loaded up on busses and made their way to the service. While the focus last night was more on our students as the mourners, today the proper attention was paid primarily to his family. We learned more about his life and how he helped people as a neighbor, as he ran cattle and took good care of the land.
Fr. Anthony found an appropriate quote from a Northern Cheyenne Chief, “On the day you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a way that on the day you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” That seemed fitting for the kind of man Jerry was.
After the funeral we stayed for a meal and socializing. The family provided frybread and Indian tacos for everyone, which was a lot of work, but well appreciated.
We had other farewells today. At the end of the school day we gathered back at the Rec Center to say farewell to our four houseparents who will be moving on to other pursuits next year. The low turnover in our staff does speak to the stability of our programs.
This evening the Hogebach Home (high school girls) won the trophy for highest home Grade Point Average, and invited me to go out to eat with them in a victory celebration. High school ends classes on Thursday and as I sat across from two seniors, Shay and Andrea, I realized this would probably be the last time this whole group ate together. The service was very slow, but it worked out nicely as it gave us more time to reminisce, visit and laugh. When kids not only go to school together, but live, play and grow up together, there are some lasting and special bonds created.