While I don’t blog as often as I probably should, I began this site wanting a focus on the Education & Teaching titles of my life.
Today I’m going to deviate from that a bit. Because today is a day that didn’t need to be. Because the suicide of a good person isn’t easy to deal with, even years later.
So why write about this here, on the blog I created for my “education” stuff? Because two years ago an amazing person left us & I spent the week before school started helping his family pick up the pieces. Because today was the 2nd annual “Celebrating Steve” BBQ for this longtime friend in our hometown & the 2015-16 school year starts in a week. Because the start of school is now a time of mixed emotions for me.
I think about Steve quite a bit while wearing my “teacher hat”. After all, he was a pretty common fixture in my own public school experience. But also because he’s recently become the reason why I watch a little closer & listen a bit more with my students.
I share a bit of Steve’s story with my students. Particularly my own grieving process (oh the anger! If I could throttle that man for the hurt he has caused…but I’d probably hug him senseless given half a chance). Oddly enough, it seems my crazy-confusion-anger seems to make me more “human” with the kids. Certainly has led to a few opening up & I think may have made a difference with one who graduated this past May.
I know it has made me more conscious of what really matters & less focused on the trivial things both professionally & personally.
Five months after we lost Steve, Luke and I packed up our family & moved 350 miles to gain more time together. More important than the actual move, we now consciously savor the little stuff.
Like taking the kids to the STL Zoo on Saturday to meet Kali the polar bear (& caving on their requests for a little polar bear stuffed animal).
Because of the what if. If “what if” did happen, we both want those who know us to remember the moments we consistently gave the equivalent of that stuffed bear when it mattered. We want our family, friends, coworkers, students/chefs to feel we valued them as individuals & stood up for those who needed support.
We agreed to stop worrying about “image” & “professional” and to focus on people…and it’s bittersweet. We’re probably more content in our life & ourselves than ever before, but we’d gladly give it all up to bring back our friend.
I guess in the end this blog post is more of a ramble & a self reminder to take those opportunities to tell someone they matter.
I know many who sneer at the phrase “building relationships” and see this as a cop out approach to setting strict boundaries.
Me? I see it as a way to make the connections that may have saved a friend known as “Buddy”.