12 February 2013

Bereavement

It's only Tuesday, and already this week has brought two deaths.

One, that of my dog Chester, I'd been expecting for a week or so. I was able to prepare a bit, but the moment it arrived still stung.  It still stings.  How do you just say goodbye after 11 years?  I know it may seem silly to some, to love a dog so, but he was and is family.

Another was completely unexpected. A teacher at my high school passed away in his sleep last night.  Yesterday, he was teaching advanced placement physics, helping with the morning drop-off chaos, beaming positive energy as he perambulated down the hallway, greeting students.  Today, he is gone.  My heart aches for my hometown, for my school, for his fellow teacher who was really more of a brother than a coworker.


It's hard to describe what I'm feeling.  I believe in a life after this one, in a heaven where we can be reunited with family and loved ones, so I know that this isn't goodbye forever.  
But it still hurts.  
I still ache to snuggle with my dog just one more time, to feel that unconditional love.  
I'm mad that the threat of Nemo kept me in D.C. Friday night, instead of letting me go home for just a few brief hours so that I could say goodbye. 
I want to wrap my whole hometown in my arms, to let the students know that in time it will be better, and to not forget the lessons he taught them.  Not just the lessons about science, but the lessons about life.  
The knot I feel in my stomach on behalf of my teacher's colleague, a man who taught my whole family, will take time to work itself loose again.

I also feel strangely calm.  I wish I could say that it's the kind of calm that comes with peaceful wisdom, but I don't think that this is the case.  Partly, it is shock.  Partly, it's the callouses that life has built up.  
These callouses worry me.  I have always striven to not become jaded, to remain a beacon of hope and of light in spite of the many (the oh so many) challenges that life has presented.  It is in moments like these that we define our relationships with others, with our God, and with ourselves.  And even though I feel hurt and lonely and angry and sad, I will not let that define me.
 I will turn the hurt into hope, the loneliness into love; I will turn the anger into acceptance, the sadness into solace. 

I am grateful that if this had to happen, that at least it happened during this season of love.

*Please forgive me if I am out of sorts for the next few days.  I'll be fine, but will need some time.  I debated whether I should post this now or later this week, but figured that those around me deserved to know why I seem off.*