“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”
My daughter would have been eleven today, if she were born CHD free. While the years pass by, the loss never lessens, it just changes, evolves, and becomes a part of who you are.
I learned a lot being Briona's mother. I learned what it REALLY means to be strong, to speak up, to question, and to fight. I also learned that while we like to fancy ourselves as in control of our own destiny, we truly are not. Everything happens for a reason.
I had a physical today. I scheduled it months ago and forgot about it, but when I got the reminder call and the date OCTOBER 18th glared at me from my calendar, I was glad it was the first opening they had. Birthdays are always the hardest for me.
I often think about what my daughter would be like if she were here today, and how she would choose to celebrate. I knew a heart family that got a transplant, and every year on his "transplant day" they would get heart shaped doughnuts and give them away to whomever he felt like giving them to. People he knew and loved, and random strangers. I always thought it was a great tradition. I guess I was thinking about Briona and doughnuts... so I decided to bring my friends at my "old" school treats today.
I wasn't planning on seeing any children, but they saw me. One of my kids from last year saw me in the hallway. She hugged my leg, and just kept staring as her eyes welled up with tears, and then she hugged me and asked me to walk her to her locker. When she could finally speak, she asked me, "Where did you go? I miss you every day." I'm not sure how you explain to a six year old the politics that were involved with the merger of Ypsilanti Public Schools and Willow Run Community Schools, nor do I think I would even want to tarnish her still rosy eyed view of the world, so I just explained that I work in another building now because "that is where my boss wanted me". I figured that is as close to the truth as I could get! She held my hand as we walked to her locker upstairs, and as I walked through the familiar hallways tears welled up in my own eyes. Children from my former classes seemed to pop out of every doorway and hugged me enthusiastically, and joyfully all while asking, "Mrs. Boyer?! Why aren't you in your classroom? I keep looking for you!" I even got invited to a wedding! (Congratulations Joi's mommy!!) Another student burst into tears upon seeing me, and as I hugged her like our lives depended on it, I knew that today I brought Perry doughnuts for a reason. I needed some hugs, and there were some of my former students and colleagues that needed them as well.
A parent who observed these going ons stopped me in the hallway and wondered how on Earth I could ever have been told maybe. As part of my moving on, I try not to be bitter, and could answer earnestly that I believe it was not my inability to reach children, it was simply politics, and I was caught in the crossfire. As the union president for a semester I did and said what I believed had to be done at the time, and as a result paid the price. Everything happens for a reason.
That being said, while I miss my friends and the students at Perry, I have found a new home. I am very happy to be in my new district, in my new classroom, with my amazing students. As I tend to do, I have befriended a few wayward souls, and find joy in watching my students learn, dream, encourage one another, and laugh. I have found students who need me, just as much as I need them. My new school, while qualifying as "high poverty" is in a currently fiscally healthy district. It's been eye opening and at times awe inspiring to realize the differences, and mourn the inequities. While the drive is a drag, it gives me alone time to think, process and plan. At times I have a bit of survivor's guilt as I look into the eyes, and listen to the stories of my former colleagues.
I miss you all, but I am happy to have moved on. I am in a good place, and there are no more tears.
Sometimes I swear I can hear Briona whispering the same thing.
God is good. All the time.