This is a really hard post to write – apologies to everyone.

As regular readers know, Tad loves his art classes.  He also loves his art teacher.  She, over the course of a year, has become a huge part of his weekly routine, and one of his favorite adults.

Last Monday, she suffered a massive stroke at her home.  She died on Wednesday, on her 51st birthday.

When I got the news on Wednesday, my heart just broke.  My overwhelming grief for her family was overrun with my sheer dread of how on earth I was going to break this news to Tad.  Fortunately, when I was reading this news on Facebook, I was at the Autism Center with Thumper, who was in session with his therapist.  Once I could compose myself, I got on the phone and left a message for Tad’s ABA therapist, who does keep office hours on Wednesdays, asking her to either call me, or come to the waiting room if she got the message sooner.

Twenty minutes later, when one of Thumper’s therapists and I were talking about what had just happened, Tad’s therapist came flying into the waiting room.  Have I mentioned lately how wonderful she is?  She is wonderful.  She’s been Tad’s therapist now for over 6 years, which is more than half his life, and knows that kid so well.  And she knew, just as I did, that he would be devastated by the news.

We agreed on some basic things to cover with him, and that I would not tell him until Friday after school, to give him time to process this loss over the weekend.

On Friday, after school, I sat him down in his room and told him that his beloved teacher had died.  Tad’s jaw dropped, and he instantly covered his face.  When he looked up again, there were tears.  “WHY?”

“I don’t know why, buddy.  We are all very sad, and we just don’t know why this happened.”

More tears.  “But I love her so much.”

“And she loved you, too.  She told me that.”

And this lanky, adolescent boy crawled into my lap to cry some more.

About ten minutes later, he got up, and said “I am done with this sad news,” and walked away.  I found him in the living room, tearing up again.  No, he was not done with the sad news, and he won’t be for a long time.

That night, at bedtime, there were deep, broken-hearted sobs.

There has been denial, anger, and bargaining so far.

Tonight, there is art class.  A substitute – one who stepped in last week when his dear teacher was hospitalized – will take over for the rest of this month, and then the class will take December off.  Tad’s grief is probably going to be pretty raw tonight.

Tad’s art teacher left behind a husband and two college-age children, and a lot of people who loved her, including a whole bunch of art students.  Including one not-so-little boy who is trying to process his first real loss of an adult who was so important to him.

One Response to “Grief”

  1. Linda
    November 20th, 2017 07:47

    Our Sympathies, for Tad and his Beloved Teachers Family.
    So young to go home to our Father.
    We know that grief is not easily overcome.
    We hold All close in our hearts and Prayers.
    Tad will always Treasure his Teacher and honor her with his Talent.
    Hugs and love from the two of us.