Image Credit: Alexander Grey via Unsplash.
Written by H. WEND. January 12th, 2023.
Miss Harvey was a young teacher, in her early to mid twenties. She had short red hair and freckles. I adored her. She was beautiful, upbeat and goofy. She was my kindergarten teacher.
One day, Miss Harvey came in and she was quiet. Throughout the morning it became more apparent that something was wrong.
Our kindergarten classroom had one of those magic walls that acted as a door, connecting us to the kindergarten classroom next to us. Miss Patterson taught the kindergarten class next door.
At one point during this particular morning, Miss Harvey knocked on the magic door that joined our classrooms. I remember observing as Miss Patterson opened the door and Miss Harvey immediately broke down in tears.
Concern began to grow inside me, my curious mind becoming confused and sad.
They spoke quietly for a moment and Miss Patterson put her arms around Miss Harvey.
Miss Harvey left for the day and a relief teacher was organised to take over our class.
That day, after school, my mum told me that Miss Harvey was upset because her mum had passed away.
My little heart broke for Miss Harvey.
This was the silent pain she was carrying with her.
The image of Miss Harvey’s brave front that turned to the kind of sobs I had never seen before stayed with me.
I didn’t have the skills to properly understand loss or grief but it was the first time I saw it and felt a tiny speckle of it’s immense depth through Miss Harvey’s heartache.
Things wouldn’t be quite the same in my kindergarten classroom. Even I knew this.
I also knew that if I were ever to be in Miss Harvey’s position; where I lost my mum, my absolute world… well, I’d never be the same either. It was the first and last time that, as a child, I thought about the pain of losing my mum.
20 years later, I’d find myself in the shoes of Miss Harvey. I have thought about her often especially in my own grief after losing my mum.
I had realised that Miss Harvey inadvertently taught me one more very important thing;
She was my first example of bravery and strength in grief, my first glimpse of life after tragedy.
Knowing the pain of becoming a motherless daughter and the emptiness grief can bring, I am in awe that Miss Harvey showed up that day and the weeks following to teach her kindergarten class while carrying this incredible life-changing grief.
I’m grateful for Miss Harvey and the examples around us all whom continue to show up while in storms of their own including loss and other difficult things.
I’m also grateful for the lessons we can learn from each other through example alone and for the familial connection that can be found on our darkest and loneliest roads.
Miss Harvey sounds like a wonderful person. It’s great that you were able to learn such a valuable life lesson from her, through example. Thank you for sharing, Hannah.
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Thank you, Tanmay💛
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