Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. She is the mother to four and another on the way and she makes me laugh and truly contemplate some pretty deep issues. Head over to her blog to read what she and her husband and precious children have been up to this week!!
I am going to veer off of the normal path of Not Me Monday today...sort of. It is still a Not Me--as in it was not me who was brave and wise beyond my year-- but it will not be written like it normally is.
Most of you know that I teach school. I have taught school for 15 years (GASP!)--I know, I do not look like I could be teaching for that long...Anyway, in the course of my 15 years, I have had to deal with tragedies within my community, within my school and within my class. I typically do what is expected of me depending upon what the situation is. I help with a meal, I go to the funeral home, I let a child just stand beside me because they need to.
Friday night, the mother of a child I taught three years ago lost her very short but very hard fought battle with cancer. She also has a son in the first grade (same grade as Will). She went to the doctor 3 months ago because she was not feeling well and was running a fever. She found out she had cancer in almost every part of her body and it was stage 4. I was discussing the fact that she had passed away with Mark and Will piped up from the backseat of the car with, "Are you talking about T's mom?" I was kind of surprised he knew about her since T is not in his homeroom. I said I was talking about her and he talked about how sad T must be now that his mom is gone. He was so matter-of-fact about it, but so sweet too. Very deep for a seven year old!
I told Mark I was going to go to the funeral home on Sunday and Will, again, starting asking questions. He wanted to know what was at the funeral home, why you go, what you say, etc. (keep in mind that the last time I had to take Will with me to the funeral home, he embarrassed me beyond belief---I told him to sit in the chairs in the back of the room with friends of mine--who incidentally are NOT good at watching children--while I went to speak the mom of one of my friends. I had told him before we got there that we had to be quiet because someone had died and we were going to tell them we were sorry. As I am talking to my friend's mom and telling her how sorry I am for her loss, I feel a tug on my pants and look down to see Will's face. Then, in horror, I hear (as he points to the casket), "Is that the dead guy?")
I began to explain to Will why you go to the funeral home and on his own he decided that maybe he should go too, to tell T that he was sorry. I talked it over with Mark and we felt like if he thought it was right, we should let him go.
Well, yesterday, after church, we came home (after eating at Moe's of course) and we had a HUGE, but brief, storm---complete with hail. Will and I had been talking about school, baseball, life in general when the storm hit and once we finished watching the hail fall, Will came out with, "I don't think we should go to the funeral home in this weather." I smiled and said, "We don't have to leave for a while, and this storm will be long gone by then." He shrugged his shoulders and went back to playing his game. About 20 minutes before we had to leave, ANOTHER storm (complete with MORE hail) came crashing in on our house. Will decided that was our sign to stay home.
I told him I knew it was scary to go, but I felt like he needed to, for T's sake. I told him lots of people would be there for his dad, but not a lot of people would be there for T. He agreed and we left. What I saw next made my heart swell with pride and taught me a lesson about life.
We walked through the door and I saw a few people I knew. Will did not stop to talk to any of the people he knew (most were adults)--he was searching. I watched him until he found T, who was close to but not right next to the casket. T looked at Will and his eyes brightened for just a brief second, and then they filled with tears. I saw Will put his hand on T's shoulder and say, "I am sorry about your mom." T shook his head and asked Will if he wanted to go see his mom (Will did not). I walked up with T instead and he said, "There is my mom. She is beautiful, don't you think? She hasn't been that beautiful in a long time because she has been so sick." I choked back the biggest lump in my throat, nodded my head and told him she was beautiful. He turned from me (the blubbering idiot adult) and walked back to Will.
Will, in his infinite seven year old wisdom, just let T talk-about whatever he wanted to talk about. Sometimes it was about his mom, but it also consisted of school, baseball, church and Star Wars. They laughed. They pretended to shoot each other. They walked around. They sat down. T introduced Will to other family members.
I sat back and watched in complete amazement. No one had to teach Will how to be there for T. He just did whatever T needed him to do. It was sweet. It was genuine. And it is a picture I will never forget. He showed me how important it is to show up, to stand next to someone who is hurting and let them do whatever they need to do at that moment. Sometimes it is to cry, sometimes it is to just sit and sometimes it is to loudly imitate R2D2 and C3PO and then crack up laughing at yourselves.