This past week has been a weird, trying, heart-wrenching week.
Last week, I found out Mrs. Kenney passed away. This weekend was really tough. I know that, eventually, the people who I love and admire and respect will all pass away. I teach English, death is major topic of discussion in my line of work (please see every work in the English 10 curriculum). I just don't think we are ever ready to face death when it actually happens. This loss was sudden and unexpected, which only makes it more difficult.
Additionally, the people who I would mourn with, my fellow SK alum and friends, aren't around. They are in a Facebook kind of way, but not in a I can hug you now kind of way. I think that makes this all the harder because mourning, I think, needs to be done collectively. Our memories. Our love. Our loss. I am attending a viewing tomorrow evening and will be going to her funeral on Wednesday. I am hoping that I will be able to find some peace, and some closure, by going and by seeing some old, familiar faces.
Today, I wore my class ring for the first time in ages. First of all, my ring is MUCH heavier than I remembered. My right ring finger got a serious workout. Secondly, I still love that there is a miraculous medal inside the ring. I adore Mary. Seriously adore her. So having that medal in the ring is something very special. I decided to wear my ring to have some physical connection to SK. Mrs. Kenney so loved teaching and SK, and any little physical manifestation of my connection to the women who I attended school with and the faculty who taught me somehow brings some comfort to me.
Moving on...I said this week was weird. The week is all of 2 days old, so I know it still has some time to prove otherwise, but this time of year is always a little strange to me. A time of transitions and letting go and farewells. Today, we said farewell to our retirees and to some of the faculty members who are moving on to other schools. Our health and PE teacher, Cindy, retired after 30+ years of service to the county. It was a joyful celebration of her teaching career, and, really, her life as she survived a terrible car accident the first week back to school (that forced her to take this year off in order to heal). Cindy is just an amazing spirit. She is a teacher who truly connects with students and brings out the best in them. She coached allied teams for a number of years and was such a gifted teacher and coach for her allied players. Her presence at school will surely be missed.
This week, I will also say farewell to my department chair, 9th grade team member, and friend. Becky hired me 8 years ago this past May. We hit it off fairly immediately and the rest is really history. I have been completely blessed to work with, and for, her. She threw leadership opportunities my way almost the minute I walked in the door. She allowed me to flex my teaching muscles with GT and AP classes...and with Accelerated English...but I can forgive her for that. When I needed to cry she let me cry, when I need to be crazy she let me be that, too (she gave me weird looks, but she let me be crazy). She was one of the first people to know that I was pregnant with Lily, and then, later, with Jackson. She's been supportive, and encouraging, and really what I needed a DC to be as I entered the teaching profession. She isn't going too far, just to a neighboring high school (that is really less than 5 minutes from where I teach), which is oddly comforting. I will be sad to see her go, but I know we will maintain our friendship, and, I am sure will still get in our planning together.
So that is my weird, trying, heart wrenching...crap-it's-only-Monday week. I am sort of all over the place with the emotions because the week is always an emotional week. There is some act of catharsis in the wrapping up of a school year, which is really amplified by the other events surrounding this week.
As a side-note....It did occur to me, though, that Mrs. Kenney's passing couldn't have happened at a more appropriate time of the year. The end of a school year. The consummate teacher finding the end of her earthly life at the end of a school year. I don't think she could have planned that better.