Saturday, May 1, 2010

Out of the Ashes, Beauty will Rise

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I awoke this morning.

It was raining. Have I ever told you that I adore the rain? Of course I have. Probably more times than you wanted to hear. However, hearing the rain this time was different.

Today I was going to a funeral.

Now, before you start to worry, my family is doing well, as am I.

I’ve had a student who’s been absent for a week. You see, his cousin died. My student, I’ll call him Joey, was taking it pretty hard. On Thursday after school I went to visit him.

He told me about the funeral on Saturday. I didn’t want to go. He wanted me to.

I awoke this morning.

The rain was cascading down, and building in the gutters, sweeping over the tops like a waterfall. It gurgled in the downspouts and coated the sidewalks with a glorious infestation of worms – slowly growing mushier. I ventured out into the sullen weather, and gazed up at the melancholy clouds. I couldn’t help thinking how much I didn’t want to attend this funeral.

It was going to be wearisome; after all it wasn’t even a year ago.

The clouds began to clear away as I drove up to the funeral home in the next city. A train blocked my path at one point, forcing me to find an alternate route. A detour for roadwork forced me to take another pathway yet again. Traffic on the freeway and in town was so congested that it very nearly made me late.

It was as if all of the obstacles that could have been put before me were; all of the warnings not to go on.

And yet I drove.

I arrived at the funeral home, and for a few moments I just sat in my car. I didn’t want to go in. I thought of my student, and drug myself from the confines of my car, where the sun was now breaking through the ashen gray haze above me.

I went inside.

The familiar smell of funeral home, and the sight people dressed in black – all of which speaking in hushed tones - was a reflection of another funeral. It was like sliding down a cheese grater.

It was reliving it all over again.

When the service ended, I saw my student. I spoke with him briefly. I put my arm around him and gave him a small hug. And then we stood there, saying nothing. After a couple of moments he looked up at me and smiled.

He told me he’d see me on Monday. He rejoined his family.

I drove somewhere not home in a veritable depression. It weighed down upon me, and like an unwelcome visitor, just wouldn’t leave.

I turned on music to match my mood, which probably didn’t help, but it made me feel worse, which in turn started to make me feel better.

Steven Curtis Chapman once wrote:

Last Day on Earth

I pull over the side of the road and I
Watch the cars pass me by
The headlights and the black limousines
Tell me someone is saying goodbye
I bow my head and I whisper a prayer,
"Father, comfort their broken hearts"
And as I drive away there's a thought that I
I cannot escape, no I, I cannot escape this thought
I can't get away

Oh, if this should be my last day on this earth
How then shall I live?
Oh, if this should be the last day that I have
Before I breathe the air of Heaven
Let me live it with abandon
To the only thing that remains
After my last day here on earth

If this should be my last day here on earth
If this should be my last day here on earth
If this should be my last, last day here on earth

And if tomorrow comes to find me
Looking in the face of Jesus
Will I hear Him say the words "well done" ?

If this should be my last day here on earth
If this should be my last, my last day here on earth
'Cause this could be my last, this could be my last
This could be my last day

It is now night.

I write.

It feels better.

Mom's whole story is here and here. Just know that in the second link the posts are from newest to oldest, you'd probably want to start at the bottom.

Image garnered from:


Gerb said...

Sorry you had to endure such heartache again. Funerals are never easy.

Natasha said...

Thank for for this post, it was beautifully written. I'm sorry for your loss. And I, too, know that out of the ashes beauty will rise.

Amy said...

What an awesome teacher you are! Your student will never forget that nice gesture!

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend! You deserve it!

Cheeseboy said...

I nominate you as teacher of the decade. I don't know if I could do what you did for that boy. He'll never forget that you were there.

Connie said...

Reliving sad, unpleasant situations is not easy.

You did a good thing for your student.

Beautifully written. It brings tears to my eyes.

C.C. said...

Joy follows pain, sun after rain...such a great teacher you are for attending. Funerals are rough, especially when children are involved.

Farscaper said...

I was not ready for a post like this.

Not yet...

Mamma has spoken said...

Agree with everyone else, you are an awesome teacher! I don't think I could/would have done the same thing......

Chrissy said...

I bet you were touched by his request, I know I would be and yes it does dig up old memories... In fact reading this does for me .. Before your post I read another post by One Krusty Mama... she is a widow like I am ... She is starting fresh on this road to being a widow and everything she is experiencing I am nodding as I've experienced the same and I'm 9 years down this road... I read both pieces that u have linked and even tho my parents are still married and both are alive (fingers crossed) I can imagine the pain u have. Let's just say I've learned alot about myself and I see how much my kids have changed and grown from their loss...

tammy said...

I second Cheeseboy's nomination. That boy will always remember your kindness.

I'm so sorry about the loss of your Mother last year as well. I don't think we're ever ready to see our parents leave. I just finished reading the posts you'd written about her. You've written some beautiful things that have left me in tears this morning.

Anonymous said...

May your fond memories of your mom comfort you as you make meaningful gestures like this to those around you. Our students need teachers who care about them and are invested in them. It is those gestures that write on their hearts and help them know they are special. Your mom helped you become that wonderful teacher who would put himself and his own feelings aside to write on that boy's heart a message that will always be there. He will always know he is special, in part because of you.

Your writing is beautiful. Thanks for moving me today. I'll try to leave the "blogvy" behind. :)

VKT said...

Your post really touched me. The raw emotions you poured in to it made me want to reach through computerland and give you a hug. It took a lot of caring and compassion for you to go ahead and put your student's needs over yours and attend the funeral. What a wonderful inspirational teacher you are!!!!! I hope you have a quiet restful day today. You will be in my prayers.

Blessings to you.

Katie's Dailies said...

You touched your student in ways that you have no knowledge of. He will always remember you as the teacher that cared and loved him enough to come to a funeral on his behalf. Thank you for such a beautiful, thoughtful post.

Rachel said...

It's hard when other people's difficult experiences make you relive your difficult experiences. Reliving them over and over bringing it all back. You are truly wonderful though being there for this boy. He'll always remember. And maybe someday, he'll be there for someone even though it is difficult for him.....

Richard & Natalie said...

I feel it is always too soon for a funeral- especially so in your case.
I'm sorry it was so hard on you, but your mom would be incredibly proud of what you did yesterday, TF.

I hope having Joey in class tomorrow brings a smile back to your face and a little solace to your heart.

Kelly said...

Your post sent me into your archives reading about your step mother's death prompted me to write about the illness of mine. We have had very different circumstances Teachinforth. You can be grateful for that : )

MBGITWWR said...

Just thinkin' of ya. Thanks for sharing. It's nice to connect with others - even when it's a connection of heartache. Keep up the good work, J. You're amazing!

Just SO said...

You are a good man to go for that student. As difficult as it was. I'm sorry it brought everything with your mom back.

I understand. I'll be thinking of you. Especially next weekend. (hugs)

tiburon said...

Jason you amaze me. I wasn't reading you back when everything happened with your mom but I just took the time to go back and read. I feel like I lived through it with you - your writing is so raw and personal.

What a great teacher you are - I wish there were more like you!

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