Hit the Road, September--You're Full of Bad News

There's not much of an update to the "dating advice" segment of the previous post, but I'll do what I can when I can in the near future.

What's going on right now is that on Monday, for the first time ever in my life, I will be attending the funeral of a co-worker.

Over the summer, we'd gotten an e-mail from the principal about one of the primary grade level teachers, but just that she was undergoing treatment.  Then as the new school year was approaching, we were advised that a substitute would be covering her class for the time being.  We sent cards and flowers, and I think some of the staff who were very close to her tried to visit her in the hospital, although a time came when they said she was not up for visitors.  Then yesterday morning a staff meeting/update was called, although I missed it because the notification was sent to our school accounts the prior evening, and I wound up logging in late because I was doing my new morning duty of monitoring the girls' locker room (W/Th/F).  But I got the idea: things were not good with her.

(As a side note, after the meeting someone tossed off the comment that "She's giving up."  Seriously?  I don't care how positive your mental attitude--I mean, it helps, but--how could anyone divine whether a particular person's cancer at that point in time is "beatable"?  It's a horrible reality at this point in our medical/scientific advances that we can't cure all cancer.  It just took a dear friend of the family; it took my late friend J.  I would never cast either of them as people who just give up, so it must have been bad.  Thank God they are no longer suffering.)

When I got in from grocery shopping last night, she was on my mind, so I called Mom and just told her what was going on and how sad I felt.  Even though I had not known this teacher for long, she had such a warm, bright (but even-tempered) personality that she just felt like an old friend.  I enjoyed the times we wound up sitting next to each other at in-services and the like, and when she would come to our group exercise class last Spring.

So when the administrators pulled all the faculty out of our weekly school-wide meeting this morning to meet in the library, we all knew what was coming.  We cried and passed around the boxes of tissues and consoled each other.  Then we talked about telling the students.  Ugh, such an awful feeling.  I think everybody went through the rest of the day just feeling drained--sad in our own right, and then sad upon witnessing the children's grief.  The sixth graders as a whole took it pretty hard, between their status as the first class she taught years ago and their ability to comprehend the situation more solidly than the younger grades.

Obviously, school will be closed so the faculty (and I guess some students) can attend her funeral on Monday.  In the meantime, school is continuing its plans for a big weekend (major sports events, student Mass), kicking off with a pep rally tomorrow (yeah, not my fave anyway, and now so not in the mood).  Maybe that will be good for the kids, to carry on regardless.

We're supposed to dress in school colors tomorrow, but all I feel like is blue.



Red Stethoscope said…
Oh, sweetie. I'm sorry. This is horrible. I hope you are getting through the day OK and that things start turning around and feeling better soon!

Anonymous said…
How terribly sad :( And how awful for the students. I still remember a memorial service held at my elementary school for a teacher who had died of cancer. She wasn't my teacher, but I'd interacted with her a little bit outside of classes, and my memories of that service are still incredibly vivid. I hope that their teachers and parents talk to them about this a lot, because for many of them, this could be their first experience with death. I hope the joy of the pep rally will help raise spirits around the school.
Kate P said…
R.S.--thank you. Day at a time.

Angela--thanks and yeah, the pep rally did pick the kids up. Although either I'm going deaf or it was a tiny bit subdued!

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