Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Grief leads to perspective

I am so fortunate to work in a place that not only loves children but is full of staff that truly loves one another.  Our high school is full of fantastic kids.  There's no two ways about that.  We very rarely have fights on campus, even though we are not immune to typical teenage concerns.  It seems as though every adult cares an awful lot for them and each other.  So when something happens to one of us, we are there to grieve and support one another.  Yesterday we learned the devastating news that one of our staff unexpectedly passed.  This person was and is beloved by so many and clearly affected their lives in an infinite amount of ways.  Being in the position to guide children, it's difficult to feel our own grief while also being a comfort to the kids.  I was so grateful that today was a late start day for us that gave us the time to feel our sadness without having to put on a face for others right in the moment.  When the doors opened to our kids, we could sincerely be there for them.

Grief is a very unique thing.  Its one of those things in this world that brings things into perspective in a hot second.  Earlier in the day, I was being overly dramatic about something that right now seems inconsequential and downright stupid.  I don't even like to use the word "stupid" but it seems appropriate here.  We received an email earlier in the day regarding participation in graduation.  The person coordinating the ordering of caps and gowns for staff needed to know where we graduated from college, what was the highest degree we received as well as height and weight of each person participating so that the appropriate size could be ordered.  I didn't participate in the ceremony last year, but had my stats on file from the year before.  I was trying to explain that to the person, going back and forth with her in emails because, bottom line, I didn't want to give up my weight.  Why?   I felt shame.  She's cute and petite, so here I was coming to tell her that I'm a tall, big freak.  In fact, when I sent her my final e-mail, my response was absolutely pathetic.  No, seriously, it was.  I told her my weight and then I typed, I kid you not:

"Hopefully it'll be less by the time we walk at graduation.  Working on it and getting weight loss surgery in the summer ;-)"

I mean seriously, why did I need to explain anything?  She wanted the numbers and facts, not an explanation.  I felt shame and I knew I needed to explain the weight away, at least in my own head.  Then I heard the news of the death.

This lovely woman was only two years older than I am, was in good health and did not have an enemy in the world.  She will be incredibly missed by all of those who had the fortune to know her.  All of a sudden, in that moment, it didn't matter how much I weigh or what I thought someone else might be thinking about my magic number.  It's a moment to say the things that perhaps I hold inside.  It's a moment to hug my family and friends just a little longer than I normally would.  It's a moment to look in the mirror and sincerely love the person staring back.  I often times live in so much regret about the things I have or have not done.  There's no time for regret.  Obviously, as we have been forced to recognized, life is so fleeting.  I made sure to tell people I loved them today and I meant it.

My takeaway from all of this is that I am able to look at my own mortality and know that I have choices I can make today.  I went on a lunchtime walk with my friend, I had healthy food and a great dinner.  I'm done eating for today and I have no regrets for the choices I made.  I'm still here and for that I'm incredibly grateful.

Water Challenge Day 42:  Drank 182 of 182 ounces


Beth Ann said...

I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach reading about your explanation email. I would be the exact same way. :-(

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