I cried today. It only happens once every couple years, so thought I'd share.
A young guy who was a teaching assistant in fifth grade passed away in his sleep on Monday night. He was only 26. He had a heart condition but it was nothing thought to be real serious. He was tall and athletic and you would have never suspected he had any kind of health problems. He died of heart complications or heart failure; I don't know the details but I guess at this point they're arbitrary and provide little closure.
I worked with Mr. C for a few years when I was teaching fourth grade. Being two of the three guys in the Lower School, we always talked sports, movies, beer, and sometimes we talked about our relationships. I remember one conversation we had that covered our favorite beers made outside of the United States. That one lasted a while.
This morning I was walking from my classroom to the middle school faculty room. There is a nice walkway that snakes around the field between my room and the main middle school building, and that is where I passed an entire fifth grade class writing messages to Mr. C with sidewalk chalk:
"We will miss you"
"You were the best teacher and coach"
"We will always remember you, Mr. C"
"We love you, Mr. C"
"You will be with us forever"
I immediately teared up. You can only imagine how touching this was and how theraputic this must've been for the students. On my way back to my classroom, coffee cup in hand, I looked down and saw a yellow arrow guiding me forward. The message below it read:
"Mr. C's Walkway"
I walked passed more fifth graders who were writing messages on a cement wall. When I made it back to my empty classroom, I sat at my desk and I cried.
It only lasted a few minutes but it felt good. Like many others this morning, I needed to do it.
We will all miss Mr. C.
His chalk will forever cross our campus.