The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Healing Just Means It Doesn't Hurt Every Day

Grief is a strange thing. Unlike physical pain, healing doesn't mean the pain goes away. It just means it doesn't hurt every day, but there are still some days when it hurts a lot- hurts fresh hurt.

Late Christmas is this weekend. SO much has changed in the last 10 years in my extended family. This year will be very different, since like EVERYONE in the family had a baby this year (literally 5 babies). It is kind of exciting thinking about that.

But then I started thinking about the worst change of the last 10 years... the one person who will never be at late Christmas again... Jimmy. He died from multiple organ failure from pancreatitis in December of 2004. I was thinking about him yesterday when Marc was mentioning that he wants a DVD player for his birthday (our is broken). I thought about the Christmas in 2002 when I was an "adult" for the first time and was in the drawing for names for gifts. I drew Jimmy. Jimmy and I had become quite close. He had moved to Northridge a few years before that and sort of become like a big brother to me. I really wanted to get something good, partly because I wanted him to have something nice and, honestly, partly just because I wanted to be like, "See, I am an adult- I buy good gifts!" I remembered that a few weeks before that my parents had offered to lend Jimmy a DVD he wanted to see and he said, "Thanks, but I don't have a DVD player." By then, these were pretty common items, so that was kind of odd, but they were still pretty expensive. When I pulled Jimmy's name in the drawing, I remembered this, and decided I would watch the ads until I found a good deal.

I'll never forget when he opened it. He had this total look of shock on his face. I think he was surprised that I remembered he needed one, surprised that his 19 year old cousin bought him something that expensive, and kind of surprised that I drew his name.... 'cause he drew mine too. He got me a really nice bath set from Bath and Body Works. It was Sweet Pea. I will always have an emotional attachment to that scent because it makes me think of him.

When Jimmy died and we cleaned out his apartment, I saw that DVD player, and I cried a lot. I think my sister ended up taking it home since she didn't have one.

I am really looking forward to late Christmas this weekend. But right now... it hurts to think about the fact that Jimmy will never again be there to share it with us.

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