Not Alone

I remember how excited I was when I learned who was going to be my 8th grade homeroom teacher at St. Paul of the Cross.  My homeroom teacher was not only considered by the students to be the best 8th grade teacher but also be the best teacher in Junior High.  I was pumped for a fun year before I went to high school.  Very soon into the new school year, my teacher’s 4 year old daughter was struck by a car and died.  I had never been to a wake prior to Emily’s and to say I was shaken would be a gross understatement.  Seeing, feeling, the devastation my teacher was experiencing has stuck with me even after 19 years.  My teacher didn’t come back to teach that year.

Two years ago Charlie and I were walking out of Starbucks when I ran into my 8th grade teacher.  I had maybe seen her a handful of times since Emily’s wake so I was unsure if she would recognize me.  That doubt was immediately squashed as I noticed her start to fight tears back as she said hello to me and Char.  I felt terrible because she obviously associated me with the year her daughter Emily passed away.  I wished that I was able to take some of her pain away, even if just a little.  But even then I knew that was impossible.

I saw my 8th grade teacher again seven and half months ago.  This time it was at my son Charlie’s wake.  I don’t remember too much from that day but I remember seeing her.  I remember thinking about the pain I saw in her eyes from that day I introduced Charlie to her and it scared me to death.  I knew immediately that Charlie going to heaven was something that I will never get over but seeing my teacher reaffirmed that feeling.

When I was in 8th grade I remember thinking how unfair it was that my teacher, who is a wonderful, loving, and devoted parent could lose her daughter.  I think about unfair it is that we lost our Charlie.  I think about the other “grief” blogs I follow and their authors. Men and women who are bumbling through this new life they’re forced to live. A life they were not expecting. A life walking an unforgiving and relentless path through pain and sorrow. A life which they will never wholly appreciate like they once did. A life without their child.

I follow them because I’m longing for a sense of normalcy and reading others’ views about this unthinkable pain that we share makes me feel like I’m not alone.  I read a post written by a grieving dad that shared how he greets other people who have lost a child.  He says, “It’s an unfortunate honor to meet you.”  Perfectly said.  These blogs are where I go when I I get the feeling that I coming unhinged.  They assure me that the million different emotions I’m feeling and thoughts racing around my head are not crazy.  Yep, I’m not alone.  I’m a member of group that has no voluntary members.  We’re all here against our will.  But it’s our will that will get us through.

I’ve added a list of blogs that I follow on the side of the page using a widget.  I’ve never heard of a widget until the other day and now understand how they work.  Introducing, My Blogroll Widget.  Thanks to the authors for writing these and helping me help myself to stay attached.


3 thoughts on “Not Alone

  1. You most definitely are not alone. We are all here for you as you are here for us. There is not a day that goes by that I do not wonder how you and many others I have had “the unfortunate honor” to meet are doing. Hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of miles physically separate us, but the dubious distinction we all carry binds us in ways that, unless you have been there, no one else understands. Thank you for sharing everything you do! It helps the rest of us know that we are not crazy and we are not alone.

    Warmest regards,

  2. You are NEVER alone. Your family touches all of our hearts and souls. There is not a moment that goes by that I do not wish that things were different for you and your family.
    I am kind of thinking that Mike has a basketball team up there in heaven……and for sure Charlie is starting.
    With Love,
    Eileen Ellefson

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