1. She was cute and cheerful with sparkly eyes and a cherubic face. Before I had children, I used to play with her and her sister at the annual Christmas party where we’d decorate cookies and hang them on the giant Christmas tree. This week, I heard that she’s been caught in the schoolyard of the high school she graduated from – selling drugs to students. It seems she’s lost her way.

2. I remember when he was born. We held him and cooed over him. Marcel and I were dating at the time, and it was the first time I realized my husband-to-be was baby-crazy. He didn’t want to put the baby done. A few days ago, we found out that that baby has grown into a high school student who’s belligerent and disrespectful and was caught stealing when his class volunteered at the local food bank. “If the poor people can have that stuff, why can’t I?” He’s losing his way.

3. She was beautiful and gifted and seemed so highly capable when she started working with me, several years ago. The future ahead looked bright and should have been. Today I heard that she’s carrying a sadness with her, and has become so self-limiting her potential seems wasted and almost dried up. Is she losing her way?

4. Two little girls with friendly smiles and nervous giggles. They’ve been to our birthday parties and played in our backyard. Both of them seemed fearless and bold and full of spunk. One of them could shimmy up the monkey bars and walk across the top like a tight-rope walker when she was still too tiny to go to school. The other one came with us to Ballet in the Park and would wander off into the crowd like she was afraid of no-one. Now they’re ten years old and looking for love in all the wrong places. Getting their eyebrows waxed, dressing like show-girls and bragging about kissing boys. Both had mothers whose pregnancies cut short their youth. Will they lose their way?

I have no conclusion for this post. No wise words or happy endings. Just a bit of sadness for the stories of people who’ve been in my life at some point and have since faltered along the path.

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