Ruben

A Eulogy for Ruben (If There Ever Was One)

Jose Vilson Jose 25 Comments

Ruben

Ruben Redman

“I often wish that I could save everyone, but I’m a dreamer.”
– Scarface, “Smile”

Ruben,

As one of my first students, I remember you as a portly one.

Always dressed in funky colors, and had style for days whenever you weren’t in uniform.

Never really in a gang, but had a tag name (think I didn’t know about that, Trons?)

I’m almost certain, though, that you wouldn’t get into that other mess others were into. You had dreams of doing really great things. Maybe a lawyer, doctor, or whatever other profession your parents encouraged from you. Both of them were there.

And I remember my first year at your school, thinking how nervous but idealistic I was about the prospect of teaching my first batch of students. I remember cultivating that sense of urgency with all of you, that time was of the essence, and that what you’re doing and see around you doesn’t necessarily have to be yours. With that, I learned to push you hard, because I wanted to extract the best out of you.

We battled, and battled hard.

All in the name of seeing you reach your highest potential.

Even though I didn’t get to teach you your 8th grade year, I’d see you on my floor, on the block, with your friends, always with the nicest kicks (sneakers), hanging out with girls.

Being young.

But graduating. With parents in tow. Parents who I got really familiar with, as I called them about twice a month (once for you, once for your sister). So proud.

They say life’s short, but no one ever defines what short is. You never expect that this would pertain to someone like you, Ruben. You weren’t supposed to have this happen to you. You were supposed to mature out of this phase. You, more than anything, were caught up in the wrong place, wrong time.

And now you don’t even get a chance to be at the right place. You’re not getting that second chance. Hopefully you give your other friends a chance to see their lives as indispensable.

Ruben Redman, rest in peace. Stay good.

Mr. Vilson, who seriously hasn’t had the greatest week ever …

For Ruben

For Ruben

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 25

  1. dopegirlfresh

    amen, aché, and selah. bless his life. may those who loved and knew him be comforted by his memory. may those who know of his life and loss be encouraged to live the best lives they can. & to you, hermano, remember that you made a difference — you did. bless you for writing this.

  2. J.M. Holland

    Sorry for your loss man. The first one it the hardest. I have seen about 8 kids that I could reach slip through the cracks between good teachers and ok teachers and teachers who just picked up a paycheck. Sometimes they get scooped back up and some don’t. But at your students’ age the streets are more savage, whether the kids are on the good side of the street or not.
    So much potential.
    It is really really sad that you and this world lost him.
    Sometimes RIP doesn’t do it justice.

    rest
    in
    peace
    young man
    what we have lost we will never get back
    lets hope the storm abates and spares a few because of you, the ones we lost that never should have been swept away by the storm

  3. Anthony Then

    Damn Mr. Vilson ,
    I Cant Believe Hes Gone =/
    May His Soul Rest In Peace .
    -I Love You Ruben :(

    -Anthony Then P.s You Was The Only Teacher I Had Who Actually Cared About The Students . =/

  4. Mel

    I’ve lost a student to a drug overdose, and as of today, two to jail. They never really warn you about the overwhelming sense of loss that comes with outliving your students. It’s chaotic and unnatural, and I’m sorry for you, and for myself. For Ruben, for my Natalie, Chad, and Sean. Because we see our own crystallized youth in them, and we love and protect them for it.

    From a fellow teacher who’s not in it for the paycheck or the summers off, you have my condolences.

  5. glenda arvelo

    Ruben was my cousin and I dont know how we are going to cope with his loss. Whoever did this to Ruben not only took his life but they took our lives too. I love you Ruben and as I write this my tears fall on this keyboard because i still cant believe you are gone.

  6. Katherine Abreu

    - RUBEN REDMAN ;
    + wow ‘ ihtss juss craziee how life is ; because i always used to see u in school, with your friends chillin u always smiled at me when you had a chance to; i remember when we were in is.52 ; i used to see u in GYM . you dont even know mannn ! you leftt & left everyone sufferinq & criyin in school Lanmark / Coalition . in the 4rth floor they made a mural for you ; they painted you & have good poems ; ihts like you were so special to everyone ‘ & the fact you left BROKE them in peaces, and the fact i didnt know you as much as i wanted to ; is sad cause everyone said OMG you were so cool, & i imagine Rubi , she always used to talk about her “Little Biq Brother ” she loves you & i know she always will juss like your parentss, & all your friendss, well this is not the end ; one day we will meet again ‘ up there in heaven ( were i believe youre at ) you were a qood guy , and i hope your resting in peacee ; <3

    & as for you Mr.Vilson this was a qood ” eulogy” as you call it youre a very nice teacher & i hope you remember me Kathy (Little one ) it made me tear :'( byee Mr.Vilson =/ Kathy :(

  7. Madeline Salazar

    wooooww – Ruben like you said wasn’t the kind to go and get into much
    problems ; and as for kathee – take it from some one who once knew him
    yes he was cool , he was funny , and he was much more .
    Ruben was one person who i knew is gone but i no i wont forget ,
    he holds a special place in a lot of peoples hearts .
    but i truly agree w. you Mr.Vilson , people do say life is short
    but to our unfortunate event we dont know how short it may be .
    Ruben we ALLLLL miss you like crazyyyyyyy .
    &+ we all hope to see u again , RestInPeace Ruben aka Tron .
    we loveeeee youuuu . :'( .

  8. Tweenteacher

    I know this is hard, Jose. My student, Rode, my speech and debate student, died suddenly as well. I was asked to write the eulogy and as I spoke, I looked over at her sweet face and saw for the first time that was in her Speech suit, the only one she owned, that she competed in and wore during her greatest life-lessons and greatest victories. I still find confusion in why these children fall so early, sometimes those with the most promise of changing their future world. But I walked away in awe that her family’s faith kept them strong in the knowledge that they would all one day be together again. I still harbor sadness and confusion about Rode’s end, but I was inspired by their faith and love in each other. (It almost makes me envious that they are so clear in their faith. Thus, proving to me, a teacher, that we have much to learn from our students and their families.) This love came from their family and their friends. Reading your post and these comments clearly tells me that Ruben was loved and will continue to make an impact on his world. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Laurie Wasserman

    Jose,
    I am so sad to read about Ruben; this is the part of teaching they don’t prepare us for. For me Ruben joins all the special students I’ve lost along the way: there is Kyung, who was shot by members of her boyfriend’s enemies sitting in a restaurant. She was 16…There was Joey, who had too much pain and ended his life. There is nothing more difficult as their teacher than to lose them before we see then become adults. They will forever be kids in our memories and hearts. Your students will need extra hugs and love right now; they may want to talk, or not, but they know you loved and cared about Ruben just as they did.

  10. shabely diaz

    damn yooo
    my boo tronnn =/
    still in shockkk cant believe hes gone =[
    i still remember like it was yesterday when we first spokee
    i was a lil herb in the 6th grade and u was upgraded w. all the “cool kids” , how we had a lil insider saying he was my “baby daddy” and how we gonna get married and have 6 kids when we older =[
    and the song “flow right” by jadakiss used to be OUR SONG!
    we use 2 be on the fone all night and rap verses 2 each other
    damn yoo that funeral killed me too i still be thinken about that and i be tearing and cryingggg =[
    Ily TRON! YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!

  11. Pingback: Top 5 Things Not To Say At Parent-Teacher Conference « Online Int Educational Documents

  12. Pingback: TOP 5 THINGS NOT TO SAY AT PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCE: Online Education Resources

  13. Carlos Perez

    damn ruben i cant believe your gone … i dont even believe myself i left is.52 half way through my 8th grade year but we were cool .. we were real good friends and then this happenssss? all my symphany goes out to your family especially ur sis whom i knew very well… r.i.p. Ruben

  14. Ensor DD MSC

    Me and tron [thats what he always wanted me to call him,so i would keep calling him that and hardly ever by his gov name]..would just chill at my house on the down low and talk about deep stuff.
    Such as life,religion,our futures,girls,etc etc
    And at the end of the day he would always amaze me the way he was.
    Yeah he was from the hood and did his few share in some ‘painting’
    But even when me and others would invite him to ‘paint’ he would always say
    “i cant yo,i got to go to sleep,i got school tomorrow”
    Such a bright future he had,focused in school and everything
    And its a tragic out of all people he had to go.
    Yesterday was 2 months of him being gone and I still cry from time to time
    But trons would always live on and would never be forgotten
    We miss you bro,the whole tvc crew,msc crew,we light candles in your name the next day in the freezing weather and everything for you
    I love you and miss you
    TRON LIVES!
    TRONSALLAH!

  15. jen

    ruben we miss you nd love youuu rip<3
    were here for your sis nd fams
    i just saw u less th a month b4 in rubys getttty .. damn ruben

  16. Johnny Cedeno

    Danmm;RIPTRONS.Imyu Bro STILL CANT BELIVEE DHIS WE SO COOL WE LIVED ON SAM BLOCK&EVRYTHING WE BOMBED TOGETHERR LOLS;
    dANM BRO U WILL NEVA B FORGOTTEN-_____-‘

    RIP RUBEN REDMAN AKA DADDYTRON$$
    TVC BFV^^
    TRONLIVE;RIPCEEEET
    jOHNNYCEDENO;CERLSTADHADON TVC LIFE

  17. TRONSANO . X3

    INN PEACE TRONS I MISS U . YOU WHERE LIKE A BROTHER 2 M3 MATTER FACT U WHERE ,MORE THAN A BROTHER . I LOVE U N MISS U FOREVER U WILL REMAIN INN MY HEART . Wen no one was there u had me my niggua n my heart you will always be there my dude i love u you u where sano with everyone no problems no nuthing why the fuk the good die young . No matter what i wont forget u . I noe yur looking at me from above my dude . Everytime we chilled it was i betta day for me .damn why u outta all people you smfh . Remember wen we was all chillen in sote house n play with money dogg my sun “niko light” im gonna be missing doez dayz.=( . I remember wen i first meet u we go crazy kewl dick cant still belive u gone its crazy u left the world yesterday damn the block aint the same. Why is it a kewl dude .
    Rip trons
    June 1.1993 – feb 23.2009

    tvc 2 the day i see u

  18. Steph Marino

    Mr. Vilson,

    Although I do not know you, I am proud you wrote this piece of literature. I knew Ruben as one of the kids from around the way who also went to school with my youngest brother. I remember how good of a kid he was when he was in middle school along with my brother. Unfortunately, they get influenced the wrong way and this leads them into crossing these dark paths. My brother was there the night Ruben was killed and Orlando will never be the same again. He is still traumatized from the events that occurred that night knowing his friend was killed. May his death inspire other writers to do something positive with themselves rather than argue about which “crew” is better and lead them to downfalls. I will always remember Ruben as the one who didn’t want me around because I was the older sister, but besides that, he was a sweet kid with a good heart.

    RIP RUBEN

  19. edgar

    yo my nikka i miss the shit outa u b i wish i can stop the time n make u come bak to life n let god take me u didnt deserve wat they did to u thiz was not the way u was brout to this worl to die u was a guud kid gud son best friend i ever had u was even the one that told me stay out the streets but i neva listen to i saw wat happen to u i hate the fact that u could of told that bitch nikka clev that u didnt wanna go bang but u didnt fuk i wish u was still hea so u can see how much every body on the blook be missin u trons man why u why it had to be u u was neva a bad kid man i can even imajen wats goin trough ur moms heart right now or in her mind to loose the only son she ever had the momment we all shared with u will allways remain in our heart till we meet in heave trons u noe who is writin to u the one that will neva for get u even if u die is like in kife u gone but in my heart u still alive 4 ever some times when i think of the momment we been through i start crying like a lil bitch but that only kuzz u was my true friend to me thats why i love u some much n miss u so much i noe from the sky u seen wat the bitch ass nikkas year of ur ss nikkas did to u that day of ur year of death non of thiz nikkas came to pray for u not clev not sote not nerds not jop all these nikka was there n non of them could of came to see u that was really fuk up only me n ammo from 2 biillions of friends when to pray for u that let u noe that the nikka u die for wasnt ur true friends bro ya tu sabe klk manito no vemos en el cielo te kiero mucho y te estrano mas ya tu sabe tu manito SPY…….

  20. elizabeth Ramirez

    Rest In Peace Ruben .. We deff. Miss u down here on earth .. Ntn is really the same .. my daughter still asks me what happened to u .. What am I suppose to tell a 5 year old? How can I explain to her that God needed u by his side? When she qets older she’ll understand … once again we miss u and love u …elliex3

Leave a Reply