Tomorrow marks two years since I was widowed: I am on already edge this week.
I have been sliding downwards for the past week.
I tried (unsuccessfully) to pamper myself yesterday.
…and I thought that was a bad day…..
… but that was not even a pimple on the arse of today….
Today was school photo day.
The children and I took a little extra care over our appearance today.
I had to somehow style my Side-Show Bob hair back to something resembling sleekness.
I carefully applied make-up.
I made sure the kids had neat hair and clean faces.
We arrived at school and before long, all staff were asked to meet in the hall for staff photos….
….and that’s when my teaching partner walked towards me with a certain look on her face…
“Has the Principal spoken to you this morning”
(Crap – what have I done now). “No”
She looked me in the eye. and said “I don’t know how to say this so I just will say it: [tiny child in our class]’s father was killed in a car accident last night”.
She caught me and held me as great, heaving sobs burst forth.
I gasped air even after the half hour it took for the stupid photographers to organise the set-up.
“Have the day off” the ex DP said. (She was the only one from admin to come near me – the Principal and DP … both male …. were frightened off by my tears).
In the end, someone covered my class for me for half an hour while I pulled myself together ….. and then the darling student turned up with her aunt. She didn’t want to miss school photos and was oblivious to what all the hushed voices and extra hugs were about.
She wanted to have her photo taken with her class and her teachers.
…and it took every ounce of my strength not to burst into tears again, but I stayed with her for the photos before returning to my other class (remember – I teach two different classes on different days).
….and then I remembered that her cousin was in that class. He was older. He knew what had happened, and I knew I had to stay the whole day to be with him. To help him. To remind him that I know and that I would stay with him for whatever he needed.
….and ultimately, that is something I can give the children I teach that were affected by this tragedy …..
I can help them through by being the person they can talk to who knows.
Because ultimately, it’s the knowing and the being there that will help.