Another school year came to an end this past Friday - my 27th one to be exact. It doesn't seem possible that I've been teaching for that long. Looking back I see just how fast the time has flown. So much has happened in my life both professionally and personally. Every year has been different - some better than others, some worse for a variety of reasons. This year was by far one of the best. I had a great group of children that I grew very attached to. I am truly going to miss them all. Friday was an exciting but also emotional day. There were tears - some from students, some from teachers. The students I taught will be moving on to the intermediate school next year, and I won't see many of them again. So Friday was truly a day of good-byes.
I realized this weekend that it is time for another good-bye. Eddie died a little over three years ago, and I know now that it is time to let go. I've had two black boxes tucked on the back of a shelf for the past three years. They contain the pictures that were used in the memorial video, the guest book of those who attended the visitation or the funeral, the obituary, the funeral program, copies of posts from the on-line guest book, the rose I took from the blanket of flowers, and the sympathy cards I received afterwards. I've never opened either of those boxes until now. I took them out this morning, wiped the dust away, and went through each of them. As I took the items out I noticed that without even realizing it I had placed everything in the boxes face down - every picture, every card, every note. I looked at all of the pictures, started to count the cards but stopped at 150, and randomly chose a card here and there to reread. There were only two things that made me cry - the letter Trey wrote to Eddie and read at the funeral and a poem (quoted at the bottom) posted on-line from a friend. When I finished looking at everything I carefully replaced the items in the boxes - face up. I returned the boxes to the shelf, but now they are in the front rather than the back. There's no longer any need or reason to keep them hidden.
We said an initial good-bye to Eddie when we laid him to rest, but that good-bye didn't include any form of acceptance that he was really gone. This one does. I know and accept now that he's gone and never coming back. I still don't fully understand what he did or why, but I've accepted that it was his choice, not mine. I'll never forget Eddie or our life together. They are a part of who and what I am today. I will treasure the time we had and focus on the good memories. His suicide changed the course of my life, but the new course doesn't have to be a bad one. It can be whatever I choose, and I choose for it to be positive. I will honor Eddie's memory by going on with my life and being happy, because I believe that's what he would want for me.
There is a Reason for Everything - Helen Steiner Rice
God never hurts us needlessly and He never wastes our pain;
For every loss He sends us is followed by rich gain.
And when we count the blessings that God has so freely sent,
We will find no cause for murmuring and no time to lament.
For our Father loves His children and to Him all things are plain;
He never sends us pleasure when the soul's deep need is pain.
So whenever we are troubled and when everything goes wrong,
It is just God working in us to make our spirits strong."
On-line post from a friend:
"A million times we've thought of you, and a million times we've cried.
If our love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly, in death we love you still.
In our hearts you hold a special place, no one else can ever fill.
It broke our hearts to lose you, but you didn't go alone.
A part of us went with you, the day that you went home."