You know, prior to 2009, I had been to one funeral in 20 years. Tomorrow will be the third in 10 months. :::flips off 2009 again:::
Anyway, tomorrow’s service is a Catholic mass, and I’m unfamiliar with how that whole thing works. Is it a longer ceremony? Is there like a mass, then a regular memorial service? And, uh…what exactly is a “mass” and what happens in it? I’m curious what to expect, as my mother will be driving out here to babysit my 3-week-old and I’d like to give her some idea how long I’ll be gone. Should I take my breast pump to use in the car if needed?
In 2009, we lost my father, two of my husband’s uncles, the husband of a friend of mine, and now, a beloved teacher from my Masters program who is, without question, the best teacher of both children and other teachers I have ever known.
She led my cohort and was my instructor for 80% of my classes, and we all became close over the 2 1/2 years. Boy 1.0 was born during this time, and she welcomed him to class at age 2 weeks, giving me a private area to nurse him where we were removed from others, but I could still listen and absorb what was going on. He went to class with me until he was too mobile and too noisy, and even then, she asked about him. She called him her “DBL [degree was in Design-Based Learning] Baby.”
She was positive, inspiring, innovative (she actually spent a year in Japan at their invitation, sharing her unorthodox methods), and one of the main reasons I finished my Masters and stayed in the profession that was burning me out at the time. I had no idea she was sick–I just graduated 2 years ago, and the post-ceremony party was at her house. She gave us personalized gifts…I got a stuffed animal horse wearing a cap and tassle.
I don’t know what happened; she was young, 53. All I know is she became very ill, was in hospice care for the holidays, and died either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. We need more people like her, not fewer. Fuck you, death.