I'm not wishing my life away, and I'm not even wanting what is left of this year to hurry by because of the BCS championship game. I just want 2011 to be over, and I pray that 2012 is filled with many more smiles and much fewer tears.
Our faculty, staff, and students have been hit with so much tragedy and sorrow this year. More than what one school should ever experience. Actually, the hard times go back several years. If I counted correctly, the number of deaths that our faculty/staff has experienced in about the last four years is close to 20. A spouse, parents, other relatives, friends...Sure, we have a around 75 employees in our school, but even still, that is a lot of sadness in such a short time.
In addition to that, one of our students drowned over the summer. Back in the spring, another of our students was seriously injured when her horse fell. Looking at Kathryn, although she faces some struggles, we can see the goodness of God in sparing her.
Just about a month ago, we lost our registrar. Patti had been sick, but things were beginning to turn around. It looked like she was on the mend, but then there was a setback, and we were shocked to learn she had passed away.
Today, we lost another of our family members. Mary had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during the summer, but the prognosis looked good. Her cancer was supposed to be fairly rare and slow growing. After spending about 3 months in the hospital, she was finally released, and the plan was that she would return to work after Christmas break. She had not been home long when we went to the ER because of extreme back pain. The diagnosis was not good. The cancer had spread to her spine, and she was given two years...best case.
My phone rang at 5:45 this morning. Nobody ever calls at 5:45, so I knew. I knew when I looked at the caller ID, it would be Karen. It knew when I said hello, she wouldn't have good news. I still said a quick prayer that she was calling to tell me she'd been up sick all night and wasn't going to be at work. (Sorry for wishing illness on you, Karen, but I know you understand.)
I met Mary in January of 1993. John and I had just gotten married, and I was unemployed. Mary was a part-time rad tech who worked for John and a full-time teacher. Because of her, I learned about a special education teacher who was going to be on maternity leave in the spring of 1994. Mary put in a good word for me, even though she knew nothing about me! Talk about going out on a limb for someone, but that was Mary! For several years, Mary and I taught next door to each other. Many were the days when I'd go to her room to ask a special ed question, see if she had a copy of a form I could NOT find (she always did in her disorganized organization), or to vent. Mary had the most awesome giggle for a laugh. I loved hearing it. She had the best sense of humor. She was a wonderful person and friend, and so many people can say their lives are better for having had her in it.
Thank you, Mary, for allowing me to be your friend, and I know I'll be seeing you again. I love you!