Awkward Moments

It just after noon and I need a writing break.  I am feverishly trying to get my classroom unpacked and things lined up for doing work in the summer and I am even sending a bit of photocopying to the printers for the fall.  Busy--but the more work I do today is less work I have to do during the summer.

This morning I ran into a former colleague, Donna, who is also a parent of a student that Hugh taught (her son came to my school, but I didn't teach him).  She gave me a hug and the first words out of her mouth were, "I'm so sorry to hear about what happened."  I teared up--the good kind of tears--and thanked her for acknowledging my grief.  She told me a number of really nice things, but the best one was that she thinks of Hugh and I often. 

As time goes on, I realize how hard it is for people to bring up Tripp. Death is uncomfortable to talk about and I know that people refrain from saying things partly because they think they are sparing my feelings and, I think, partly because they are sparing themselves a possible awkward moment. Just like I thought I was sparing the kind man who knocked on the van window and myself an awkward moment.  The thing is, they aren't sparing my feelings.  They are missing out on an opportunity to make my day.  Donna made my day and that moment will be one of the top moments of my week and definitely one of the top moments of my return to work.

On my bulletin board behind my desk I have a collage of personal photos. . . Approximately 65 of them.  The bulk of them contain Calder, but their are lots of Hugh and I (pre-Calder) and a number of our families. As I stapled the photos to the board, I wondered if it was too much, but in the end, decided it wasn't.  I am all about the people on the board.  They are the most important things in my life.  I am proud of those people and really, in the end, who cares if it is a bit over the top.  When I was done I stood back and admired the display.  I love it.  I couldn't believe I actually considered not putting up the pictures.  I suddenly had a sense that something was missing.  Those pictures are a reflection of the things that make me--ME and as soon as I thought that, I felt the hole that Tripp left.  Tripp was missing.

I am not sure how to display pictures of Tripp.  I haven't put up ANY in our house yet.  I still feel sad that I don't have any of him, before he got puffy (he was swollen from all the fluids he was given) and that don't have any tubes or IV's in them.  Those moments didn't exist together for Tripp. 
I know that although I am sad about not having those pictures, one of the main reasons I haven't displayed any is because I don't want other people to see pictures of my sick son. In the end, I don't want people to be uncomfortable if they see them or to judge me and think it's morbid to display them. 

The pictures I choose to display in my house and in my classroom are about me, so I know ultimately I will decide that I am comfortable with the possibility that those pictures might make other people feel uncomfortable.  Some day, the walls of our home will be graced with pictures of Tripp and so will my classroom.


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