Mourning

This past weekend, Gracie and I attended the funeral of the little boy whose sister goes to the school that kicked Gracie out last fall. It was heart-wrenching; those poor parents look haggard, as to be expected, and there is just nothing that can take away their pain. I was glad to be able to give the mom a hug, and the dad, too. They need to know how loved they are.

The funeral raised other emotions for me, because we were surrounded by people from Gracie’s former school. I was dreading seeing those people, but when the time came and I was face-to-face with them, I had no sense of animosity. Interestingly, both of her former teachers seemed to be fostering ill-will. The one who utterly betrayed us — who assured me over and over again that I could trust her, and then turned around and used all the information I gave her about Grace’s medical condition to get Grace out of the school — wouldn’t even speak to me. She has no reason to be upset with me. I have never done anything to her, other than trust her and confide in her. But she has done a grave injustice to us. She is the one who put on the band-aid that turned Grace’s infected finger into a life-threatening bone infection, so maybe she feels too guilty to look at us. I doubt it, though. I think she’s just small-minded. Who would have thought?!

The other teacher said hello to Grace but did not look at me at all. She is the one who called to tell me “Grace isn’t listening and it’s been 10 minutes.” So I guess I can see why she’d be upset with me — I pulled my daughter out of the school because of her phone call. She’s also the one who was terrified to have Grace in her class, even though her own daughter has an unusually high pain tolerance. Maybe she doesn’t want to look me in the eyes because she wouldn’t want that to happen to her daughter? I don’t know.

Despite these surprisingly bad reactions from the former teachers, the executive director of the school was classy as usual. I was not about to talk to her, but she approached us at the reception and thanked us for coming to support T & H. She may not have been happy to see us, but she didn’t show it. I am grateful to her for her reaction, even though I know she was the one who truly pulled the plug on Gracie. When we had that awful meeting with all the school folks, she was also very classy. Even though ultimately she ruled against my child, she was just in her approach. I respect that.

As for the other school staff that weren’t involved in the breakup, it was nice to see them. We got a chance to say goodbye, a chance to get some closure with these folks who really meant a lot to us. I found out from the kindly front-desk woman that no one knew what happened — they just knew that one day Grace was there and the next she was not. I told her I wasn’t sure we’d even be welcome at the funeral, and she gave me a big hug and said we officially were. She is kind. I am glad we got a chance to say goodbye to her.

And it was truly great to see some of the other parents. I care about these people, and apparently they still care about us too. I suspect that they’ve heard through the grapevine what happened, but they were glad to see us and we were glad to see them. I told J’s mom that Grace broke up with him and M (Gracie’s old “girlfriend”), and now she’s “dating” a different boy and girl at her new school. C’s mom and dad and I chatted while Gracie & C played, and we all realized we need to get our kids together for a playdate — they were just too cute together. The PTA mom from the school gave me a big hug. And even T, the mom who lost her son, seemed genuinely happy to see us. They truly are family, even if we’ve been dumped. And they are innocent bystanders, anyway — the siblings and cousins of the ex-boyfriend, so to speak. We are still allowed to like each other even if we are not allowed to be part of the family anymore.

It hurts to know that we’ll probably never see any of these people again. But the ultimate hurt is the loss of that sweet boy. At least the people from the school are still alive, and if I wanted to make a fool of myself I could reach out to them. T & H will never see their sweet child again. My little heartache is nothing compared to their huge ocean of sorrow.

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