You just don’t know.
I was caught by surprise recently at the celebration of life for a significant teacher in my son’s life. She died in March having lost her dance with cancer. I hadn’t seen her in years, my son’s work with her ended 10 years ago, but we’d stayed loosely in touch, and I was shocked learning she’d died.
I’d planned on going to the celebration to pay my respects and make a short visit expecting to know no one yet feeling completely compelled to attend. I had one part right, I didn’t know a person there other than her husband, yet I remained at the celebration for two hours, moving through more emotions than I could imagine.
She was an angel on Earth. As I listened to the stories from family, friends, students like my son, and innumerable parents – mostly moms, it was overwhelming the difference she’d made in her time with us.
Each story included transformational stories of time with her. We’d each engaged with her for her mastery of teaching kids that others couldn’t or wouldn’t, then moved to the immeasurable difference she’d made with each of us in the process. The moms all resounded the message of her loving their children and reaching them in a way even we as parents couldn’t. In fact, no one could.
Her ability to “know” what each of us needed and provide a safe space for learning was the overarching message. Tears flowed freely from us all – it was the same story for everyone in that standing room only gathering.
I thought I’d hired her to help my son learn to read, and she did, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. What I learned was how she transformed everyone in the process, turning pain and isolation into inclusion.