Just yesterday, I was telling my math class about this kid. About how, when he went to the middle school, he had a teacher who taught him a different way of adding fractions. I stole it, and as a result, I teach that to my students as a possible way to add and subtract fractions.
Of course, this got me a little off topic. I tutored Eric twice a week for I can't even remember how many years. Any time he got a problem wrong (because he would try to solve them in his head), he would have to do push-ups. Any time he got them right, I would have to do push-ups. At the end of every session, we would sit there and pump out push-ups. He would always end up on the floor laughing because he said I made a wheezing sound when I did them. (By the way, we were the only two members of an organization called Pump-A.--the Push-Up Math Problem Association; a name created by Eric. You see his smile up in the picture? When he laughed, it was a lot like that, only much squintier.)
There are many stories I could tell, but one of the better ones is when I walked in to tutor, and a bird flew into their house. We spent about the next forty-five minutes trying to catch it and get it out. The solution involved a blanket.
Anyway, during reading time this morning, I received a text that Eric had died early this morning in a car crash. He was 20.
I can still picture his handwriting.
There is nothing harder for a "fixer" to be in a situation like this--when the problem is impossible to fix. I know it's not about me, but it's all I have right now.