Sadness and Schools in This New Era

Today we received the official word that our schools are closed for the rest of the year.  I heard this news and started to cry.  I couldn’t help it.

I am sad for my son and him not being able to see his friends or his teachers any more for the year.  I am sad that lives are not normal and we are unsure when they will be.  I am sad that there is so much unknown and so much that is scary.  I am sad that we cannot hug our friends, have lunch with them, and chat about our day.

I am sad that I won’t get to go to the chorus concert of songs that my son has been working on.  I am sad that some kids are in unhealthy environments and may be struggling with having enough food. I am sad that we won’t get to go to any games or watch his friends play together.  I am sad we cannot have Nerf wars as a group of boys had planned to do.

I am also sad for my nephew and others who are seniors this year.  I cannot imagine what he and they are feeling right now.  I hope they have fond memories of an amazing school experience, although it is truly bizarre here at the end.  I hope and pray that they can be happy for what they do have, instead of only dwelling on the sadness.  I am trying to do that as well. Some days it is easier than others.  Today is a tough one.

We knew that the call to close schools for the rest of the year was coming but it is still so hard.  Three quarters of this school year is all that we had at school, with friends, with teachers, with normal routines, with sports, the arts, and other activities. This last quarter is quite bizarre and different than anything that we or anyone else has ever dealt with.  With that comes stress and sadness.

This afternoon, our school system is supposed to meet and figure out the next steps to finish learning for the rest of the school year.  Not sure how that will look, but I truly admire everyone who is working so hard on it.  This is so beyond what they had planned for when the school year started.  The fact that they are stepping up so well is testament to the talents and gifts that our educators have.  We are blessed to be part of such a district.

Earlier this week, my son’s school sent a video to all families.  It included comments and well wishes from the entire staff.  It looked like so much work but was so appreciated.  We could tell that our teachers, administrators, and everyone else truly miss the students as much as they miss them.  It made us smile.

Each day there seems to be some happiness and some reasons to smile.  But, there is also sadness, and worry, and fear, and many other complex emotions.  We do what we can each day but realize some days, it is okay to pause and just enjoy being together.  It is okay to get a late start, watch a funny show, and talk about happier times.  We also are reaching out to our loved ones and getting exercise.

I am sad for seniors who didn’t have a prom this year, and they don’t get the end of school fun that I remember from my senior year.  They didn’t get a spring break trip with their friends.  Also, who knows when they will be able to walk across the stage at graduation.  For that and for them, I am sad.  I hate this for them.

I also am sad for the 8th grade students at my son’s school who will be transitioning to the high school next year.  They too won’t get the normal end-of-the-year activities, fun, and special party.  They won’t be able to say goodbye to their favorite teachers, at least not in the traditional sense.  So that also is very sad.

I am sad for everyone as they finish out the year not being able to go back to school and give that favorite teacher a hug, or see a friend at lunch, or walk down the hall to their locker and run to class.  I am sad that life is so very different and so much is unknown.

My heart is with everyone as we try to figure out how to move forward.  How can we remotely celebrate these students who cannot be together to celebrate?  What can we do to help them know how very special they are and how much they mean to us?  How can we reassure them that life will be normal again?   I am thinking about that and know many others are as well.

My prayer is that we can continue to support one another, that we can lift one another up, that we can make plans to help our students and our communities, and that we can practice kindness and unity that is distant but together.  And, that we always, always love.

Today I Want To Cry

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAEver have one of those days when all you want to do is have a good cry, sit under a blanket, and shut out the problems of the world?  I am having one of those today.  But, there is not time to sit under the blanket.  Instead I have to keep moving forward since this is a busy week.  But, my mind still wanders and my heart is heavy.

I normally love watching the news in the morning and evenings.  That has been my thing for years.  Each morning, I have listened, learned, and laughed with the people on our local news channel and then “Good Morning America.”

But now it’s just too hard to listen and watch.  There are so many stories that I don’t want Ian to hear about without the chance to discuss them with him.  Deaths, bombs, shootings, kidnappings, terrorists, and the list goes on.  Since we don’t want Ian seeing too much of all of that, my routine has changed drastically.  Kirk and I want to be the ones who decide how much he sees and hears.  And, to listen to his questions and concerns and be honest with our responses.

Also, the hatefulness and continued inaction between Congress and the current President is getting tedious.  Why can’t they find a way to work together as happened back when Tip O’Neal was Speaker of the House and Ronald Reagan was President?  These two men were on opposite sides of most issues, but still managed to find a way to work together.  It seems that those who supposedly care about America would be doing more to make things better.  And actually do the work that it takes.

Also, the shenanigans of the presidential candidates has been hard to watch. They are mean to one another both within their own party and the other party.  They are also mean to the American people. I know they are opponents but could we show some decency?  What ever happened to agreeing to disagree?  Or to listening to and learning from someone else?  Or having a healthy debate but remaining respectful of your opponents?  It’s going to be a long year.

And, then this morning I found out that a dear friend of ours who is 7 years old will soon be starting chemotherapy and radiation for his brain tumor.  We knew this was coming and it is good, yet hard to deal with.  He recently had two surgeries to remove the brain tumor.  He is the sweetest boy and a friend of Ian’s.  My heart goes out for him and his family as he begins this journey.

For now, we wait and hope and pray.  It will be a tough battle but this boy is strong and has an amazing support system.  For that I am very thankful.  And, knowing this helps.  We also have other friends and family who are sick, or dealing with the deaths of loved ones.  With the holidays coming up, all of these things can sometimes be harder to deal with.  May we be a support to one another by being there, loving each other, and showing some kindness.  And may we pray for one another.

With so much darkness in the world, I don’t want Ian growing up thinking that it’s okay to be cruel and mean to someone who doesn’t agree with him.  I don’t want him thinking that giving up and not trying are okay.  Instead I want him to know there is still decency in the world, as well as kindness and love.  And, I want him to know that it is important to always do his best and to work hard.

And although there are obstacles in life and sickness, hope still exists and so does the power of prayer and faith.  Ian is learning about that from our church and the Bible.  He is more aware of many things than I like to sometimes admit.  He is an amazing little boy who teaches me things every day.

A few silver linings are my son’s innocence and joy of life, my faith, my friends, my family, my routine, and laughter with friends and family.  And, funny shows, people, and movies also help.  As Truvy said in Steel Magnolias, “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”  I hope to find that laughter, whether there are tears or not.

Now that I have written all of this, I feel the weight lifting and my heart feels less heavy. Sometimes it helps to just get it out, as with a good cry.  May you have a blessed day.  If you too are feeling sad, remember there are those there to help you and faith is an amazing comfort.  God bless!

Loss and Heartache

cropped-gedc2754.jpgA few days ago one of the funniest people I have ever seen on television or in movies passed away.  It was sad to hear that Robin Williams had died, and even sadder still that he apparently took his own life.

It is hard to wonder how someone who outwardly seems so happy could do this.  But, I don’t know his mind or his thoughts or what he was dealing with. From what several reports have stated, he had suffered from depression as well as substance abuse.  These are real conditions and things to be taken very seriously.

Yet, there are people who are judging and being critical of him, and calling him selfish.  That bothers me just as much as him seeming to feel there was no other way to deal with whatever it was that was paining him.  My heart truly goes out to his family and his friends.

A lot has also been discussed since this happened regarding depression and how little is known about it.  I agree that more needs to be discussed.  Depression is something that shouldn’t be a thing of shame but as with other conditions, something that can hopefully be diagnosed and treated.

I have read a few postings about depression that have been very insightful.  I have also seen numerous postings for suicide prevention hotlines.  The number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.  Calls will be answered by trained counselors.

I reposted a picture yesterday that really moved me.  It said, “Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  This is so true.  No matter what pain we are in, I hope we won’t belittle others and what they are dealing with.

We all choose to show the world and our loved ones what we want to.  I just hope and pray that through this tragedy, we can learn to share with each other and reach out when help is needed.

I pray that those dealing with depression can get needed help.  I also pray that friends and family can be supportive and listen.  May we truly help and love one another.

On Happiness and Sadness

In the movie Steel Magnolias, Truvy says, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

That is a bit how the weekend was.  We had the celebration of my grandmother’s life and the following day found out we lost one of our dear sweet family members.

How does one’s mind get around such extremes — of happiness and then sadness?  I don’t know the exact answer and so wish that I did!!

Grams’ party was a lot of fun and she loved my blog that I’d written.  My cousin read a really nice poem and then a funny one, gifts were opened, and great food and cake were enjoyed as well.  It was a great evening.

Then the news of the loss.  Losing a loved one is always difficult.  Crying and prayers and hugs and love are about all I know of to do in times like this.

I saw a picture this morning on Facebook that resulted in some tears — “I wish there were visiting hours in Heaven.”  How I wish that were true!  And, how I wish I could visit our loved one.

There is an expression, “time heals all wounds.”  How much time?  With some losses it feels like that will take a very long time to be true, if ever.  Another is “take it a day at a time.”  On some days, that could be changed to “take it a minute at a time.”

I found some quotes about sadness, loss, and happiness:

  • Tears are God’s gift to us. Our holy water. They heal us as they flow.” ~Rita Schiano”
  • “I don’t know why they call it heartbreak.  It feels like every other part of my body is broken too.”  ~Missy Altijd
  • “If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.”  ~Claudia Ghandi
  • “I dropped a tear in the ocean.  The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you.”  ~Author Unknown
  • “Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.”  ~Palmer Sondreal
  • The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”  ~Mark Twain

Lord, please hold my family close and watch over us.  Hugs and love to my family.