In a few of my most recent blogs, I have been mentioning a young boy who was in one of my first Kindergarten classes at Tuscan School, Zach. He is in sixth grade now.
As a teacher, I find myself getting attached to most of my students. It is bittersweet to watch them move on to the next grade. They spend seven hours a day for 180 days with me. How could I not get attached to them? But once in awhile, I get a student, or a family of a student, that remains with me forever. Zach and his family are the perfect example of this. I assumed it was because Zach and Drew are in the same grade, are friends and have been on baseball teams together, so when I found out his brother was going to be in my class a few years later, I was overjoyed, knowing that I’d be a part of this family’s life in a big way once again.
I often grow strong relationships with the families of children I have taught. My children have grown up with theirs. Living in the same town, they all go to school together. I am involved in the community. I see students and their families everywhere I go, at the pool, at sporting events, at the supermarket…our town is not very large so I see them outside of school all of the time. I love this. It is a part of what makes me the teacher that I am.
Since Tuesday, when I first heard about Zach, I haven’t been able to think about much more. I have been in contact with his mom Marnie nearly everyday. She sends daily email updates to a growing list of caring friends and family. Despite the gravity of his situation, her emails are upbeat and hopeful and though she tells everyone how serious it is, you can hear the hope coming through each email that she sends. She is aware of the love and support that is radiating not just from our town, but from all around. Anyone who was touched by Zach and his family is praying for him and sending positive energy his way.
Yesterday, I had heard that Zach’s dad Joe was having a tough day. Not surprising at all. I had sent her a message asking if she was up for a visitor later in the evening. She hadn’t gotten back to me, so I assumed it would be good to wait. I keep feeling that I need to do something, but what can anyone do right now but offer their support and prayers? I decided to go and just get them a little goodie bag that I filled with snacks and magazines. Just something to help fill the waiting… Shortly after I got home, I got a message back from Marnie saying that she’d love a visit so I went to the hospital to see them.
When I got there, Zach had one other visitor. Another local mom who has been keeping me updated on the family. His small room is filled with so much love. Pictures, cards, balloons and so many well wishes are covering the walls. The love radiates from that hospital room. The refrigerator on his floor is filled with food for the family sent by others who just want to do something to help. Minutes after I arrived, more visitors did too. So many, that we took shifts in the room while the rest of us sat in the PICU waiting room. Joe had gone home for awhile to see his other boys and came back while we were all there. You could see the weight of what his family is going through in his eyes. He sat with us for awhile and while he explained what was going on and how his recovery might play out, through the tears, there was also laughter.
Marnie came back to visit with us and before I left, I went back to Zach’s room with her to see him for awhile. Seeing him hooked up to all of those machines brought back so many memories of my mom and Francine. It was hard knowing that he is going through this and he is so young, so vulnerable. Marnie said that they’ve been told that he can hear us, but won’t remember any of this. I talked to him for awhile telling him how much everyone loved him. His recovery is touch and go. His parents say that with every two steps forward, he falls one and a half steps back. It is going to be a long and difficult journey for them. He has a tough recovery ahead of him and a few more surgeries to get through, including one tomorrow, on his 12th birthday. They aren’t even taking it day by day right now, but hour by hour. So with each hour that passes, fever free, and complication free, it is a step in the right direction. This morning Marnie emailed us saying he had a good night and because of that, both she and Joe got some much needed sleep. I am sure that gave them some relief.
Keep all of the well wishes coming. I know they are feeling the love and support!