Saturday, December 22, 2012

Time to Breathe and Time to Heal

I haven't forgotten this blog. Actually I have written some lovely posts in my head while in the trenches just trying to get through everyday. It has been a rough fall. Thank goodness it is winter. Maybe it will settle a bit.

To summarize: Lily ended up with bronchitis right after me. Rob was out of town, so I ended up taking off three days. I really never got into the swing of November after that. It took almost a month for me to recover. Add to that the fact that I have a class with some challenging students. I have a talent for helping children with behavior problems. Unfortunately, this talent comes from pouring my heart and soul into them. This year, more than ever, my students have consumed me.

Then came December. My grandfather passed away on the first. I did not know him very well, but I did admire him. Even though, he was distant from our family, he always remembered my girls and sent them Christmas and birthday cards. His relationship with our family was very complicated. He had a very difficult and challenging childhood. He was also very bright and very tough. He was a veteran of WWII and the Korean War. During WWII he was one of the medics in charge of going through the concentration camps and setting up triage. I also just found out that he'd been a prisoner of war. He was in the Special Forces. During the Vietnam War he worked in the refugee camps. He was an epidemiologist. He spent time in Papua New Guinea working to help teach better health conditions. He spent a great deal of time in Thailand. He was in the Peace Corp. He was also a distant and difficult father. I know that my mom and her siblings were frustrated by him. I never walked in his shoes or theirs, so I can't speak to any of their experiences. Just like I did after my father passed away, I choose to focus on the best and let the rest go. It's the best that I can do.

I went to Florida for his funeral with my mother. Like so many funerals in my family, this one was tense. My grandfather's wife was upset with my uncle. He was upset with her. The funeral was a mix of Buddhist and a Christian sermon from a Special Forces veteran. I enjoyed getting to visit with my uncle and listening to my mother and him reminisce about their childhood. As Army brats, they traveled all over the States and South East Asia. The best part was talking about my great grandparents farm in West Virginia. It was the grounding place for all of us. Having one common "best place on Earth" in a family in such an empowering and unifying thing.

I came back from Florida ready to get on with normal and then came December 14th. Before I even knew about the school shooting in Connecticut, I was having my own day of heart break. I had a very difficult day at school. Sometimes, I have students who need more than I can give them. I cried more that day than I have in years. I walked my children out to the bus, bruised inside and out, heartbroken, and then someone whispered to me about Connecticut. My co workers knew what a difficult day I was having. They waited until after. I work at the most amazing school with the most amazing teachers. I am so lucky. I went home that night and cried the entire time the girls watched Elf. I cried all day Saturday when I found out the children were in first grade. Then I went back on Monday and did what I do best, loved my students.

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