Friday, July 3, 2009

Our Anniversary

One of my former students, Kris Blanchard died earlier this week. Today was the day we laid him to rest. In 2000 Kris was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and congestive heart failure. He went into cardiac arrest in 2005 (his last year with me) but he was able to pull through. Kris graduated from Rome High School in 2006 as an honors student, given an academic letter for his accomplishment, and was awarded the "Wolf Badge of Courage" by his teachers and the faculty for being such an inspiration to all.

I had a a speech all prepared to give but when I got there I found out that I had to keep my comments much shorter so I didn't get to read the speech I had originally prepared. Seeing him laid out in that coffin, seeing his wheelchair sitting there empty really hit me hard.

I wound up sitting with Mary H., Dr. E. and the head of the Special Education Department. It was a difficult day for us but I just couldn't imagine how horrible it must have been for his mother Carol.

At the end of the ceremony we went to the graveside and that's where I finally had a few moments to say something to Carol. She's always been a real hoot. I think a few people didn't know how to take her but I always felt that she was trying to deflect the stress, strain, and pain of watching a beloved child struggle with MD every day. I always liked her.

She thanked me for coming and said, "It was always Ms. CXXXXXX, Ms. CXXXXXXX, Ms. CXXXXXXX. A person gets tired of hearing someones name." I laughed. We left and I sat in the car and wept. When you think of all the evil in the world you heart aches when a young man with so much promise passes away.

I guess it would suffice it to say that neither Darryl nor I had planned to spend our seventh anniversary at a funeral. We had hoped that Darryl would be going on one of his interviews and that we would go away together. Then first I found out about Kris and told him that I wouldn't be able to go if he had an interview. That turned out OK because there was no interview for him to attend.

If Darryl still had a job we might have gone to Ruth Chris for dinner. I might have gotten roses. We deal with what we have and what we have is still more than most. I had a coupon for buy one get one free at Ryans Steakhouse and that's where we went for our anniversary meal. We were the two best dressed people there. We went directly from the funeral while we were still dressed in our suits.

I did get the mixer that I had wanted for so very long. I'm so very thrilled. I can hardly wait to begin using it. I guess first we have to unpack.

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