About three years ago she was treated for melanoma. Last year she found out she had brain cancer. She had a few surgeries but none were successful. She bravely came into school to talk to us individually and let us know what was going on in her life. She had one daughter who just graduated from high school. Her husband has some issues and is not really present for parenting or support. Everyone is worried about the daughter and it is a very sad situation. Sorry I am making this a long story. Her brother and friends planned her memorial service (She has unbelievable friends, I don't think anyone could have better ones) and her brother asked for someone from school to speak at her service.
Even though I am a teacher I DO NOT like public speaking. I am fine in front of students but a roomful of adults gives me hives. Throw in the emotions involved in a memorial service and it is a recipe for disaster. I checked with the school secretary though and no one had come forward to do this. I knew that she considered her substitute teaching a very positive part of her life and I wanted this to be included in the service for her. So I said I would do it even though it is so not my forte. I pleaded with people to give me some anecdotal stories and enough came forward and did so.
I wrote out what I was going to say and was pleased with it. Two parts near the end were apt to make me tear up so I read it out loud several times at home. When T came the next morning to run I read it to her a couple of times. I thought I would be okay.
I can't tell you how nervous I was. I never do well at funerals. I bring all the deaths in my life with me. Obviously this is true for everyone but I feel I am particularly poor at accepting death. Both my parents died at different times when I was in college. I truly feel I have never gotten over it and tear up thinking of them to this day. I am not telling you this for sympathy but I feel it plays into it. When I read the piece I was much more emotional than I wanted to be. I really disappointed myself. My voice was shaky although I did try to look at people and have inflection! At times I felt like I could have been speaking French for my knowledge of what I was saying. But people told me I was perfectly clear and emotions were fine in this situation. I felt like they were just saying this but I need to stop being so negative. I stepped up when others didn't and did something I felt was important in spite of my immense discomfort. I did it for Elaine and I hope somehow she heard the love and appreciation the students and teachers had for her. She was a very special person who died way too young.
Elaine was a big part of our Fourth of July
parade always on the "fun" float
with a lot of dressing up and silliness.