Unexpected News

Courtney Fitzgerald Loss

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I’m standing outside as the cold air whips around me, trying to take away the last bit of warmth.  I’m in a crowd of parents, while children trickle out in big groups, small groups, and finally tiny trickles. The air is filled with voices, until they fade away. The parking lot becomes less busy and the next thing I know, I’m the only parent waiting in the cold.

“Where is my son?” I wonder.

I find a way into the school and walk down the unfamiliar hall. I peak in a door and see the scene: an angry choir director, four boys, one sorry face.

I quietly walk in, he senses I’m there, turns around, and the tears begin to fall. They are not the “Ooops! I’m caught tears,” but the sorrowful tears of “I screwed up and I regret it.” I have seen enough to know the difference between the two.

Finally, my son is excused; he runs over, “Mom, I had such a BAD day!”

My disappointment runs deep, but my heart stays calm. “We need to talk about this,” I barely whisper.

In time, after the tears are dried, the heat of the moment is over, I ask, “So, what happened today?”

The emotions on his face return, and the tears fall some more. “School was awful! My teacher is leaving us!”

“What happened at choir practice?”

“I was upset. I fooled around. She said if I do it again, I’m out of choir. She hates me now, because I was stupid!” he cries some more.

We discuss, we talk, we make a plan to apologize for mistakes, to ask for forgiveness. It’s all he can do.

Finally, we get to the part that really matters: he feels abandoned. I know it’s not about him or his class, but a really difficult choice a teacher he loves had to make. She didn’t chose to leave him, but she chose to try something new. She needed to take a leap of faith.

“Bud, I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know, you will survive this. You will move on, and be OK. Look at this as a chance to grow.”

“But how do you know?” he asks.

“You have survived the death of your dad. You watched his health fail, until just his body remained. Everyday, you pick yourself up and continue to live. You are a survivor. Changing a teacher, that’s a piece of cake compared to the life you have lived the past two years.”

The tears stop. He looks at me, with a new calm on his face. “You’re right, Mom. I never thought of it that way.”

There are no easy days in this life. Wrenches get thrown in the best-laid plans. Nothing is simple. We learn. We live. We survive because it’s our only choice.



About the Author

Courtney Fitzgerald

Courtney is a widow, mom, teacher, writer, photographer, and dreamer. She writes about her perfectly imperfect life at .

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December 2014
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