If you don’t already know, my grandfather passed away on Friday. I’ve had many students and coworkers ask me how I’m doing during this time, and my go to response has just been “I’m here.” It’s not good, it’s not bad; but I’m here. I’m in the one place that makes me feel normal, where I have some semblance of control. It just is…
Friday was a difficult day at work, there was a school performance for Black History Month, so the classes were shortened, and the schedule was rearranged for some reason. Naturally the students hear this as “Hey, you shouldn’t be expected to do anything in your classes today, so just be wild and obnoxious”.
My first class that I had was being their normal selves, except for one kid who was being so worse than he usually is, and then he was refusing to go work in another teacher’s room, and I lost it with him. I yelled that my grandfather had died that morning and I didn’t have to be here, but that I was here because I just wanted something normal that day.
And the class goes silent.
And the kid starts to argue with me.
And the class starts to yell at him to just shut up and go.
And he starts to argue with the class.
And one of my other students gets up and pushes him out of the classroom and closes the door behind him.
I will forever be thankful to that kid who shall remain nameless, because I know he knows what loss is. A few years ago his father died suddenly, and now he pretends that his parents are just divorced, so that way the other boys don’t pick on him for not having a father.
Trust me, I am in no way comparing my loss to his, or my struggle with what he goes through everyday.
The point I’m trying to make is that loss unites us. Many of my coworkers have come and said nice things in the hall way, given me a hug, anything to let me know that they’re here for me, and I’ll appreciate that more than they could ever know.
And a special thank you to one of the teachers who started the same time I did and sent this wonderful email:
I wanted to tell you before, but I didn’t want you be reminded constantly. However, I’m sorry that you lost a loved one. That’s always hard. I’ll never feel exactly the same way you do now, but it was hard to lose my Nana in college. Just know that the healing will come in time and the memories will always be vivid. Enjoy remembering the good times 🙂
So this is for you Teddy. You never gave up on me. You encouraged me every step of the way through school. You were so proud of me when I joined the long line of teachers that came from our family. I’m going to miss you so much, and I know one day I’ll see you again in Heaven, but for now I’m Here.
Harrell “Teddy” McRae
September 28, 1937 – February 24, 2017