Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mortality Issues

I am having a hard time right now.  It's no real suprise because I lost a sweet friend on Sunday.  She is the mother of two of my students.  

When I first came to CCS, I was re-entering the teaching world after being a stay-at-home mom for about 6 years.  Ms. T was my first real support system.  She was the first parent to volunteer in my class that year.  She was a board member who wanted to see our little charter school succeed.  She was the first to give me the run down of how things seemed to be at this new school of mine.  She brought in snacks and supplies and she even did science experiments with the children about once a month.  She questioned my philosophy respectfully and shared her thoughts and concerns peacefully.  I grew to love her pretty quickly and depended on her  a lot.  That first year was a tough one for me, both professionally and personally.  I had a hard time leaving my kids and I had a hard time getting back into the academic flow.  I have often said I may not have survived that year without her support. 

My 2nd year was much better.  I still had her son in my class (I taught a 1-2 Multi Age class) and I still got to see her a lot.  But that was the year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  As soon as she was diagnosed, her chemo started and we saw a little less of her.  She still sent emails of support and gratitude.  She never complained about her cancer and she never once let me know that it was more serious than some cases of cancer.   She took her chemo and wore her wig and volunteered whenever she had the strength.

My 3rd year, last year, I got to teacher her daughter!  Little A was in Kindergarten last year.  She'd visited my class so much with her Mama that she transitioned beautifully into Kindergarten.  Ms. T came in a lot at the beginning of the year but she had been given some bad news.  There was a spot in her neck now.  She said her faith was strong and she soon began her 2nd round of chemo.  We saw her less and less.  She was getting weaker and weaker.  At the end of the year, her son and daughter performed in the talent show.  She showed up with her whole family (her mom and dad too).  And I cried.  She barely had the energy to walk but she made it.  On the last day of school she hugged me and said, "Well, I made it another year!"  This was the first time she ever indicated that not making it was even possible.

As summer started I thought about her a lot.  In late July I woke up in the middle of the night one night and sat straight up in bed and thought, "Ms. T is going to die.  I can feel it."  I spoke with her before school started and she said in her ever positive voice, "It was a rough summer but I'm feeling better."

She missed the beginning of the year picnics and open houses this year.  So unlike her.  I know she hated missing all of that.  When I saw her husband and asked about her his response was, "Just pray Ms. Suzy.  Please just pray."  So I did.  A lot.

She held on for a long time but eventually her body and soul were too tired to keep it up.  She passed away Sunday morning at around 3am.  The children were both at school on Monday.  I managed to keep myself together while I worked with each of them.  I can't imagine losing my Mama.  And I'm 41.   

I will continue to work with her precious children every day that I can.  And I know that wherever she is....she's as happy about that as I am.  I loved her.  She was a great mom and a wonderful person. 

(I love you Ms. T!  I will miss you soo much.  And I have a favor to ask...while you're up there, will you check in on a little tiny baby boy for me?)

Now I am left with all kinds of fears.  I keep waking up in the middle of the night and checking on my kids.  I keep feeling anxious, like something isn't quite right and I can't figure out what it is. But what I have come to realize is that I feel a little guilty or something.  Because I am about as happy as I've ever been.  I have everything I need.  I feel soo fortunate, blessed, content.   And while I have been feeling so good about life, others are suffering out there.  And now, I'm feeling an overwhelming urge to help people who need it.  Where do I begin??


Pat said...

You are already helping by teaching. There is no higher calling. You are helping by being a good mom. There is no higher calling.

Interesting coincidence: While you and I were talking yesterday about your friend and my Vickie, Vickie gave up her breast cancer fight.

Love you, Baby Girl.

Jen Hunter said...


You just keep on keepin' on Suzy.

LifeIsArt said...

Thanks guys. Love you both!