It will be two years ago in two weeks. Hard to believe. In fact, almost impossible.
Two years. I’ve been fighting that long.
I remember almost every detail. I remember my students. I remember the singing and dancing. I had a ball. I remember the casual attitude I had towards my doctor’s appointment. “I’ll be late, but I’ll be back tomorrow”, I told them.
And I have not been back since.
I miss teaching. I miss it a lot. I loved the interaction. I loved the hope. I loved that all they needed was a simple, “you can do this” note of encouragement and they were away to the races.
“Remember, I am proud of you. Going back to school as an adult is not easy. You are heroes. You are super-stars having to balance school, work, children, parents, mental illness – maybe addiction… life”. These words were always part of my introductory speech.
“I will never walk away from you. I will always help. I am here for you. If you quit – it is because YOU quit – not me. I’m in it for YOU.”
Yes, I remember it well.
I can smell September in the air. It smells different. The excitement is palpable. New beginnings, change, challenges. I love it and hate it at the same time. September knows what is coming. The cool weather and falling leaves are inevitable. We know this – and we hang on to August’s casual thread. We can see it, but it slips ever so slowly through our fingers. We are different. September makes us grow up -face change. We must change. We must adapt.
It is an attitude. September is an attitude. I like it. It is bold and crisp. It is structured and clean. It is the gate that swings open to a new path that awaits.
Crunchy apples. Crisp leaves. Dark mornings with steam coming off the pond.
Two years ago – September meant I was busy. Marking, planning, problem-solving. I had no idea my world/ our world would change so dramatically. I remember the feeling of numbness when the words, “you have stage 4 cancer” crashed against my ears. It was dark. My head spun. Crunch, crisp, crash… cancer. Fall words to me.
But – fall leaves can be beautiful. They are full of colour – a life all in it’s own. Their vibrant colours are their swan songs. Having cancer has made me realize that life is so ephemeral, vibrant. It is not my swan song yet. It is not yet my time. I am here to breathe another fall, to crunch another apple… to watch another school year begin. Exciting. Grateful.
I continue to applaud those who return to school to better themselves. I am still in awe. I am still singing and dancing their praises. I still have that September attitude – and am still here cheer-leading. I’ve adapted. I’ve changed.
And I will always remember… that September.