Thursday, May 21
This post is long overdue. Sir writes it in the study, with the slow pulsing of the washing machine in the fore-ground and the sweet dulcet tones of Neko Case in the lounge room. Perhaps it is time for Sir to stop writing in the third person, as she slowly detracts from the identity of mentor, teacher, role (mother) model.
The letter of acceptance came to Sir early this week. Some time off. An affirmation of the value of her as a member of the community of the Western Suburbs school she teaches at.
Teaches. An interesting description of the dull classroom management that Sir has been engaged in recently. The life changing event that has occurred recently has put words like detached, uninspiring, into Sir's mind. At the funeral, Sir was approached by so many people... and it seemed to be easy to put on the mask, to be in the limelight.
Not so now. Now it is just hard. Now it is just heartbreaking. The time drags at the salt mine. The children know. They always know. Surprisingly gentle and unobtrusive. Sir walks down the corridors and the children don't jump out of the way... they never have. Why would they now?
Who ever put the idea out into the community that 15 and 16 year oldies are difficult and self centered was wrong. Uneducated. Never spent a deal of time with youth. Never felt the hand of year 10 student on their back in a gesture of condolence, never heard the attempts at humour to crack a smile. Never felt the envelopment of a crowd of eager teenagers asking "but where have you been?", "But are you okay?", "This is for you".
I always thought that time I would spend away would be about study or moving overseas. I thought that there would be time to continue in the persona that I had before my mother died. I didn't realise how much of my identity was sewn up in teaching, in the person I become in the classroom.
Now the investment seems strange. I am not the person that I was a month ago but I don't grieve for that person. She is gone. A replacement in my being has occurred. Too soon perhaps, too young definitely. The replacement is this. I feel my mother in the classroom and in the school with me. Sounds strange and a little silly perhaps, yet it makes me happy. I know that she can see me, hear me, feel my emotions, read my thoughts and see my plans. She is no longer a stranger to a part of me that in life she could never see. A part of me is never alone while she is in my head and watching me do what I have done and will do.