My daughter Isabella was in third grade last year when her teacher unexpectedly passed away. I was in the car driving to work when I received the call from the school principal. Like everyone who received the call that day, I was in shock. I barely made it to work to drop off my three-year-old at the school where I was a teacher. Thankfully, my Director and colleagues were very understanding when I explained that I needed to be with my child when she and her classmates were informed of the news. The counselors were present as the principal explained what happened to the children. It was devastating to everyone. I held my daughter and waited for it to sink in...her beloved teacher was gone forever.
I took my daughter home after the announcement was made as did most of the parents present. I held her and let her cry as we talked about her teacher. We went to the memorial service a few days later. She met the teacher's family and I was especially moved when the mother gently took Isabella's hand and asked her how she was doing. What a loving thing to do for my child even in the midst of her own grief! Isabella had taken a single white rose with a light green ribbon (her teacher's favorite color) and an "Angel for Teachers" pin. She laid her memorial on a table next to other tributes amidst pictures of a vibrant, smiling "Shea."
This past weekend I found my child sobbing in her room. She reminded me that it had been almost a year since her teacher died. I told her I had been thinking about the same thing. I gave her a big hug and reassured her that it's OK to cry, and it's OK to think about loved ones we miss who have passed away. Both of us will forever remember that moment when Isabella's world and life experiences changed. We cannot shield our children from realities of life or death. The best we can do is be there for them to reassure,give hugs,and let them know they can make it through all their challenges.
In honor of Isabella's teacher, known as Shea, I would like to share what was printed on the inside of her memorial service program.
The things Shea believed in:
There are 3 values: feel good, be good, and do good.
Truth is everlasting.
The trust that others place in you is grace.
Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.
Learn to be noble, courteous and committed.
Where there is love, there is no question.
Serve humanity so that people feel we are kind to them.
Happiness is nothing but total relaxation.
Whatever you are, you are. Be proud of it.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
May your mind learn to love with compassion.
Nature is a giver, a true friend, a sustainer.
The greatest tool you have is to listen.
The beauty of life is to experience yourself.
Learn to be noble, courteous, and committed.
When the mind is backed by will, miracles will happen .
Thank You, Ms. Shea, for making a difference in my daughter's life.