Tuesday, September 29, 2009

enveloped by grief

Yesterday started out like any other weekday. I went about my usual morning routine before heading out the door for work. On Mondays I swing by Star Video to pick up whatever film I'm using for a specific segment of class. This week's choice was Smoke Signals (which happens to be on my top 10 best movie list).

After the first break I started the film & took a seat in the back of the classroom to work on papers. While watching the familiar scenes & listening to the laughter of my students I became acutely aware of something on the screen that I had previously not sensed on such a personal level. I had forgotten that one of the major themes in this jewel was loss of relationship with fathers. Mine died eight months ago. Suddenly it felt like he died yesterday...the sky fell down on me.

By the time the credits rolled I was a complete puddle and nothing says "awkward" like the teacher sobbing in the back of the room as someone turns the lights back on. There was that moment of tension in which people were fumbling for Kleenex, and I was trying to find enough of my voice to be able to put some words together.

Teachers are supposed to look like they are in control, correct? But my rawness became a window through which we could all feel the breeze of loss - I talked, they listened, and they talked and I listened and it affirmed what we already knew - We are all connected by our woundedness.

Grief can be an intriguing guest at times - I just wish she would call first before popping in.

(I have no idea who the artist is, but this is a great illustration of what it felt like yesterday - as if the sky had engulfed my head like a large blanket)

9 comments:

Jayne said...

Sometimes we hold things in so tightly, it takes something like this, to open the flood gates. So glad you were able to feel it Roberta, even if the timing felt awkward. I am sure they all understood. Hugs to you.

Sneaky Momma said...

Bless your heart. I can imagine how difficult it was for you to be reminded of the memory of your father during class.
It sounds like you have some wonderful students! I remember, as a first grade teacher, being enveloped by twenty-two tiny sets of arms after reading a story that reminded me of my grandfather who had passed a few weeks before. I do believe that moment brought us all closer together. :)

BP said...

Interestingly, this is how I felt several times during and after my divorce. A song or a smell or a sound could drop the blanket over my head. When my mother and brother died it wasn't so much blanket smothering, but a wandering around in the fog. Just one foot in front of the other and mind numbing grief.

It does seem we connect more deeply through tears than through laughter.

Brad said...

Beautifully stated and illustrated. God chose that moment for you because others were there to share and to help heal. How wonderful!
With love (and with understanding - been there) - Brad

Jen Wojtowicz said...

Oh, Roberta. What a gift you gave yourself and your students by allowing yourself to be vulnerable, especially in a situation where you are used to being centered. I've been there too. Sometimes grief ebbs, and sometimes we get caught in the flow...

sue said...

thank you for sharing this...

Evelyn said...

What a gift to be able to be absolutely "real" right there along with your students. Someone told me that tears are more healing when we cry with someone else present. I watched "The Secret Life of Bees" when it was in the theaters. The theme of mother-loss had me sobbing in the theater hallway afterwards. I'm so grateful that I had both my daughter and a dear friend there with me. Yes, grief doesn't usually call first before popping in!

Jaliya said...

Oh, Roberta xo

Isn't it amazing, how laughter and tears are but a breath apart?

That is so marvelous how one person's raw feeling can ignite the heart of others. Your students are blessed to have you as a mentor.

Grieving is one of the ways that we love, isn't it ...

(((hug)))

Lauralew said...

Oh Roberta, I so identify with this. My mom has been gone almost two months now and I never know when grief will steal in and make itself known. One of my friends told me that the loss of my mom would be a life changing event--as I have lived this out, I have found it to be true. Love and hugs to you.