Still Teaching



Around the date of your passing, I received the following embedded in a longer message from one of my former students:

“Very often I think back to the lessons you taught us in class, not realizing then how wise your words were. As I’m sure you already know, most high school students don’t understand what wisdom comes with growing up and its something that can’t be taught, only learned through experiences and having people guide you in the right direction.”

At my lowest moment, that student randomly chose to write me and the message gave me strength and courage.

I was wondering if I was going to make it through your ‘Celebration of Life’, with all the photos of your performances, and our family. I almost, ok I did, lose it a little during the rendition of ‘Edelweiss’ but that always got me anyway.  At some point during the services a colleague of yours began speaking about your work with your students.  How you always pushed them, kept high standards, knew how to bring out their talents that they did  not know they possessed, that you’d do anything for them.  Another spoke about your service as  a board president for a performing arts group that you only had two rules 1) Do it right, the first time preferably, and 2) Whatever needs to be done to make things happen, I’ll do it, just ask.

I don’t  do either speaker justice, the point is that while they were speaking of you I actually felt that you were speaking to me. Several of my colleagues who were there even commented that the speakers could have been talking about me.

It was so clear.

For as long as I can remember I never truly felt connected to you or our family. Maybe it’s an adoptee thing, maybe it’s not unique to adoptees; but I always felt a little different.  I didn’t look like anyone in our immediate or extended family, sound like anyone, act like anyone; I didn’t recognize myself in anyone….until your ‘Celebration of Life’. That evening, through hearing about your life I am finally beginning to  understand who I am and where I belong.

I didn’t realize what wisdom would come with growing up, and am intrigued and excited to discover what else you have to teach me. I’m sure it’s something you’ve already embedded deep within me, and when the time is right the lesson will reveal itself to guide me in the right direction.


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