Monday, May 26, 2008

A death in the family

A few months ago I wrote about my former principal, Craig Olson, and his impending death from ALS. He passed away this weekend. We got the news this morning via calling tree and email, and, while I was questioning a few months ago how I would react, I don't yet have the answer.

My reaction has been largely physical so far, though I haven't cried. When someone dies I always have something of a numbing reaction--things seem foggy and distant. I'm either starving or not hungry at all, either exhausted or I stay awake all night. For Craig, we had such a unique relationship I don't really understand how I should react to his death.

He was my boss, but also a friend. Our friendship was based around work--socially I didn't spend time with him except at events where there were teachers and staff. But, as anyone in education will tell you, teachers form a family with one another. Craig was a part of my family. I feel regret when I think that I didn't get to know him as well as I should have, but I know that I did the best I could, especially once I found out he was sick.

Then, this afternoon the funeral home I'm working at called to see if I could work this Wednesday. I had to say no because the funeral arrangements aren't posted yet and I'm sure there will be something either Wed, Thurs or over the weekend. The balance of the funeral director wannabe in me with the person that I am.....right now it's hard.

I hate being sad. It's such a waste of time to feel crappy. It leaks over into everything. But, my friend Molly says that the Chinese believe emotions can go like the seasons, and that they have different durations. Someone may have a particularly lengthy "winter" but should be assured that "spring" will follow. I want to ask her more about it; it seemed to make a lot of sense when we were speaking of it a few weeks ago. So, for me maybe this is just a temporary winter? A brief darkness?

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