It's been a little more than a month since we lost you.
So wild to think that you were there one day, gone the next. Think of all that's happened in just a month.
Grief, I've been told, isn't something that goes away completely. You just have to learn to deal with the feelings as they come, not trying to hide or repress them, but just feeling them.
It's hard for me to show my feelings, even to the people I'm closest to. So this was a learning curve for me; thankfully I've had lots of support. Just let it out, a friend said. You don't have to put on a brave face for anyone.
I'm looking at your picture on my desk as I write this. I see you there every day while I'm putting on my make up or writing. Some days I have to stop and smile at a fond memory of you; other times, I have to stop and wipe tears from my eyes. I've told my new students stories about you without crying, and even been able to laugh about something that you said to me once. Still, I know that the healing process isn't nearly over.
You brought so much joy to those around you. Even people who didn't work directly with you knew who you were. Your absence is felt so greatly, even though I'm not even at the school anymore.
I didn't say anything at your memorial. Couldn't. Between my sobbing and my social anxiety, that would have been a mess. But here's what I wish I could have said.
Thank you for listening when I shared my relationship stories. Thank you for correcting me in math without embarrassing me in front of our students. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences to help me become a better teacher. Thank you for your support of me when trying to prepare our students for what came next. Thank you for sharing your joy when students were making progress and growing. Thank you for quick looks across the room or table when someone said something ridiculous. Thank you for dancing through the hallway with the kids during summer school without a care for what people thought. Thank you for sharing your love for your island with me. Thank you for being my friend despite our age difference. Thank you for supporting my writing career (even if fiction wasn't your thing). Thank you for generally just having my back.
Hearing your voice at your memorial broke me in a way that I didn't realize was possible. We never know when the last time that we will hear someone's voice will be. I still hear the last thing that you said to me as we walked to our cars that Monday afternoon.
I'll see you tomorrow, my dear.
On the first day of teacher preservice, I almost texted you. Without even thinking about it. I wanted to share details about my new school, my new teammates. To tell you about my day and compare with yours. To wish you a great school year.
I think about you so much. Wonder what you would have thought about what's happening in our world; so much, even just in the month since we lost you.
I'm crying again. I thought I was over that; but again, I'm learning how to process this grief and to just feel. So I write.
Your job was posted a few days after we lost you. Someone brought back your school computer. Someone else packed away your things at school. In some ways, life just goes on. But the people who knew you, loved you, will never forget the impact that you had on their lives. On our lives.
I'm sure the crying isn't over. I'm sure that there will be days when I just sit and cry as I think about you or listen to In the Heights. But I'll always have to smile when I think of you; your heart and love for others, your passion for teaching and your pride in your son. You taught me to look for the good in life, and I'll do my best to continue.
Te quiero y nunca te olvidare.