When I decided to become a Special Education teacher, I thought about helping children with the most needs. I thought at 22 I could set the world on fire with my enthusiasm and determination to make the world a better place. Little did I realize that my job also had the kiddos with the most fragile immune systems, and many health problems.
In the nine years I have been a school teacher, I have had to say good bye to three students of mine. Wow. It hurts my heart to see that in print. Each of my kiddos are special to me in very different ways. M was a stinker at school the day she passed away. She got out everything possible off shelves and just kept saying "Mama" all morning. I was crushed to hear that day that the precious little one had a seizure in her sleep and passed away.
B was my little man. Gosh I miss him dropping his pencil on the floor and looking pathetic until someone picked it up for him. Hannah reminds me (and his mom) of B--same long narrow feet and small body size. B had DeGeorge Syndrome. We had a fundraiser for him in May 2007 while his family was at Disney World. We raised enough money to purchase a communication device for him. Sadly, B passed away just weeks after the device arrived.
And now this week, we got news that one of my very first students, T, passed away. T was 18. The girls (the girls I work with-Patty & Mary) and I were talking about all the funny stuff we remembered about him. He use to close himself in his locker and think it was funny. I carried him up the ladder of my Dad's combine because he was too afraid to go up himself (that is where his love for John Deere began!). In the old building we were next to the music room. T though the music teacher could hear him through the air vent, so would yell- "hey Mrs Mailer!" Though T wasn't in my class anymore, I still kept in touch with he and his family through our Special Olympics team. He loved to show me his muscles.....among other things....hair on his chin, his underarms.....every new adventure, he told me about when I saw him.
It broke my heart (and made me a tad annoyed) that nothing was put out via school e-mail today about T. T has grown up in this community. No doubt EVERYONE knows him. He deserves to remembered just as anyone else would. So as I left school toady, I hung a picture up in the teacher's lounge of T, a fellow teacher and I, on a warm sunny, happy May day, years ago, after T had just competed in the "short" long jump at Special Olympics. It was one thing I felt like I needed to do to help my heart grieve.
No doubt in my mind each one of these kidos is in heaven. Their deaths were untimely, and I will forever miss each one of them. I found myself at the alter yesterday with my own family, thanking the Lord for all HE has given me...family by birth, relation, adoption, and school. I am forever grateful for each giggle we have shared. I have one of the best jobs, even on the days that really try my patients. My kiddos have taught me just as much, or more, than I have taught them.