Dream from Kathryn – In the dream she told me I needed to let her friend from way back know that she died. I know what friend it is but I don’t remember his name. In elementary school somewhere from Kindergarten to 2nd grade her class rode the ferry to Anderson Island. This boy who I’m supposed to let know of her passing is the son of the captain who piloted the ferry that day. I really don’t know how to get hold of him. His name is… I may have to call one of Kathryn’s old teachers to figure out his name. I want to say Shane or Joey but it’s just not hitting me as the right name.
First day of school. Well people have been posting the first day of school pictures of their children. I certainly have a bunch of those photos. We always took pictures of Richard and Kathryn as they headed out. My first day with students (9-3-14) and great kids. I shared about Kathryn and when I read that part of the letter you can hear a little noise that sounds like “oh my gosh.” I don’t mean to send fear but I need my students to know my story so they understand who I am and where I come from or even better, where I have been.
This is pediatric cancer awareness month. There is so little funding for research for pediatric cancer. Parents of kids with cancer have to learn quickly and learn to trust the wisdom of the doctors yet still have enough knowledge to know when to question the doctors. Sometimes the parents know more about their child and can make a better decision than the doctor. That was our case many times. Siblings have to learn patients and understanding while parents try to deal with this tragic diagnosed. Life becomes hell and yet you find times that are so wonderful and rewarding that would have never come without this disease attacking your family. There is good in every situation if you take a moment to recognize it.
On Friday 9/5 my friend told me that her cousin (also a friend of mine) had just lost her husband. She had gone shopping and when she returned he was sitting in his chair dead. How horrifying. No reason, no illness. She called 911 and the firemen came and pronounced him dead but they couldn’t take his body. She had to wait for the coroner and this took hours. The firemen left and there she was with her dead husbands body. This is exactly why Scott made arrangements for Kathryn the day before she died. He didn’t want her to have to lie there waiting. His Mom laid on the kitchen floor for four hours until they finally took her away. We had a choice of how long we would keep her here. We weren’t waiting on someone else to get to our home. We had all said our good-byes and her little body was getting cold and firm. Her soul had left and it was time. The guys from the funeral home were so gentle and careful. They explained to me that the law requires them to cover her completely when they go out of the house. They warned me as the zipping up of the bag can cause a little distress. I was glad we had the arrangements to ease a horrible and difficult situation. For that I will be forever grateful to Scott and Bee. Yes, Bee went with Scott for moral support. She is a wonderful young woman.
On Monday 9/8 I walked into my school building and felt a heaviness. As I went into the library for our morning meeting there was a sadness. I could feel it. I even asked one of my collegues, why is everyone so sad. She relied, “There’s some bad news.” Our principal came in and announced that one of our teachers had passed away over the weekend. I was so shocked. I actually shouted something like, No Way. I didn’t think it would affect me like it did. I really had a hard time telling my students. I broke down a couple of times with the kids. My students in my yearbook class want to do a memorial page and we will. Thank goodness we are a family here at Fife. We were the ones that had the police go to his house because we knew something had to be wrong. His only family around is his Mom who is in a care facility. Someone finally tracked down some relatives down south and they will be coming to Washington to make arrangements and deal with his belongings.
On Tuesday 9/9 I read about a lady who is a 5+ year survivor of GBM. Of course I am happy for her but it brings me back to the question of why Kathryn isn’t one of these survivors. I cried when I was messaging back and fourth with her. We talked about how there is a plan for everyone and how my friend said she had a vision of God telling her Kathryn had a duty and her duty was done. I was pretty upset with all of this talk and the passing of our teacher. On my way up to bed Kathryn gave me that little signal of her being near. The front entry light flickered as Scott and I walked up the stairs. We both said, Thank you Kathryn and good night sweetheart. We know it is her. The light never flickered before her passing and now it flickers on nights that I think of her strongly and am upset. It is like a little reminder, I’m here Mommy, don’t cry.”
I found a bright shinny penny at school on Friday. I found another one a few days later too.
A Panda bear showed up in my school mailbox. I sent out a thank you to the staff and asked who gave me that Panda. I thought it was sweet and wanted to be sure to thank the person who gave it to me. No one has come forward. I asked the one person who I thought it might be and said it wasn’t her. So now I think it may be a student. Our mailboxes are open so someone could just drop something in my box. Panda sits on my desk and watches over the kids.
Speaking of my students. One of my boys said he might not have his assignment done the next day as he was going to visit his Mom. He told me she is homeless. The next day I asked how it went. He didn’t say too much about his visit. It went ok. I feel so bad for him. He is a great kid. It must be hard to have a Mom who is absent in your life. My Mom was always there. I think she wasn’t home one day when I came home from school. but it wasn’t long before she got home.
I read this story a Mom wrote about her son and their cancer experience. Her son passed away. She talked about the dual life. I can’t remember it well enough to share it now but I will find it. It was really good. I could relate to everything she said. Part of it was about the death of her son and wanting him to live but yet glad his suffering was over. The mixed emotions that go with being the parent of a child with cancer.
On the second of October my cell phone rang in class. I usually have it off just so this doesn’t happen. I said, “It’s mine but I will ignore it.” One of my students said, “It could be your daughter”. I said, “No it couldn’t because she lives up there now.” The girl next to her said, “You shouldn’t have said that.” The other girl said, “I forgot.” The other girl said, “You don’t for get things like that.” I said, “It’s ok.” I knew she was embarrassed and I didn’t want her to feel bad. After I said it was ok several times she said maybe it is your son. I said, “No, he is doing the same thing as me right now, Teaching math, so he wouldn’t be calling”. I thought it was funny how the other girl was all over the other one for forgetting about Kathryn and how important it is to remember. Their little side conversation was sweet.
We finally made the hard decision to lay Princess our dog to rest on October 3rd after 15 years 8 months. She was the dog who helped Kathryn get better and come home from the hospital when she was 8. Princess more than likely had a brain tumor the vet said. We let her go as long as she was still able to enjoy her walks. She finally got to the point where her walks were not fun and doing things on her own were very difficult. It was time. We knew things would only get worse for her and we didn’t want her to get so bad that she hurt and was terribly uncomfortable. We wanted to save her from all of that. So, she is now with Kathryn. We are pretty sure she was looking at Kathryn on our last walk. She kept stopping and staring like she was looking at someone. Both Scott and I thought it was Kathryn. They are together now.
Over the 10th and 11th of October we had the Drive-A-Thon for Camp Goodtimes. The kids all got to ride in different cars at lunch time. The rode in Porsches, Nascars, BMWs, and a Lamborghini. They had so much fun. Even the parents were able to take rides around the track. We had a silent auction too. We raised over $40,000.
After school I found a quarter on the floor. I happened to have a student in my room and I told her that I found my quarter from Kathryn. I told her about pennies from Heaven. I told her how Scott and I find pennies all the time. Then I told her how my friend said I should ask Kathryn to leave quarters instead of pennies. She laughed when I told her he said I would make more money that way.
On the 17th Scott and I were laying in bed and all of a sudden the printer started running and making noise. It was really strange. We both figured it was Kathryn making noise for us to let us know she is around. Of course we were both thinking about her and then the printer starts acting up. It’s the printer we don’t even use.
A friend of ours died recently (October 11th). He was stable and then he was gone. The family, his wife and daughters have taken it very hard. My friend Robyn, his niece also took this very hard too. We stopped by to see all of on them on the 18th. They seem to be doing better and over the anger or at least the part of blaming others. It was good to see all of them. We also stopped by and saw an elderly woman (Erma). She will be 90 in April. She lives alone and takes care of herself and her house. She walks to the store. I think she is finally comfortable enough with us to call if she needs something. She just lights up when we stop by. It’s so great to see her happy.
The truth is that I have been a bit down. I just haven’t been full of energy. I have a hard time getting going over the weekend. It really stinks. I guess I may be a little depressed. I think about Kathryn and just feel sorry for myself. It took me forever to put up the Halloween decorations this weekend (Oct 18th and 19th). It’s just hard to get started as I would decorate with Kathryn. We loved to decorate together. It’s hard looking at the things we bought together and would put up together and remember the time we shared. It really stinks that she isn’t here to do this with me. It would be ok if she were living somewhere else and I was decorating on my own because just lived somewhere else. But she’s not here and never will be again. We can’t compare decorations or buy them together. Shopping alone is no fun. Decorating alone is not fun either.
I keep smelling these smells too. I’m not sure if it’s from Kathryn or what. It’s the same smell again and again. I just hope it is Kathryn. I’m always looking for signs and asking for signs.
Well, Halloween is up and it looks good!