Grieving as a Family

I often say to my staff and students “When you hurt, I hurt.” When I hear about problems they are going through, I take on the concern just as if it were happening to me. I have an amazing staff that has the same feelings for kids, families and staff as well- going the extra mile to help others in need.

I have attended the funerals for staff when they have lost a loved one, in particular, the loss of their parent. It is incredibly hard to see adults in pain. I have a hard time finding appropriate words for support because I think of my own family at the same time and how I would feel if this happened to me.

Today was a first for me. While I know many people have gone through this, I have not. Many people have gone through worse, but I have not. Today, I attended a funeral for a current and former student’s loss of their father.

As I watched the slideshow in front of me with beautiful pictures of the kids with their father, tears fell down my cheeks. When the mother and family entered the church and made their way to the front row, I was stoic and fixed on them holding on to one another. When the mother was trying ever so hard to control her emotions, I was doing the same. All I could do was cry, silently, as I continued to think of the memories I had of their father visiting our school events to support his children.

Having twin girls the same age and in the same classes as his daughter, I thought to myself about all of the life events his children would go through without a father. I could hear the pastor speaking, but it was muffled as my thoughts were too loud in my head. I checked myself and caught back up with the pastor’s spoken words. I glanced diagonally at the mother in the front row with her children. Tears began to fall again. Her arms are wrapped around her young son. I glanced at my twins next to me, and they are somber, but way stronger at holding emotions than I can.

When you hurt, I hurt.

When you hurt, I hurt!

It took on a truer, deeper meaning today. I cried. And when I got in my car, I cried. And as I write and reflect on this post, I continue to cry. You are part of my family, blood or no blood relation, you are part of my school family.

Oh how I wish I could take the pain away for those kids and the family.

Tomorrow isn’t promised. Hold on to your loved ones. Make memories. Build relationships. It matters most.