Grief Attack

I needed my parents this week. I know what my dad would have said that would have reassured me. I desperately wish I knew what my mom would say because I could really use her knowledge and wisdom right now.

This week has been stressful because Chris and I probably took on too many big changes all at once. I’m feeling panicky, I’m not sleeping well, and this morning I can’t seem to stop crying. If I could talk to my dad right now, he would say, “You know, it’s okay to come home”. And I would have a giant crying fit, feel comforted that I can always quit something and go home without judgment from my dad, and then feel calmer and more peaceful about staying where I am. I know because this is how he responded when I twenty years-old and went to Chicoutimi, Quebec for a five-week French immersion program knowing only about five words of French. He told me the same thing in my first year of teaching when I was living in an isolated, fly-in community up north. Both times, just knowing that he would still be proud of me if I didn’t stick it out, was enough to keep me going.

I have no idea how to do the teaching assignment I’ve been given. I’m out of my counselling element and away from my familiar school environment. I miss all my former colleagues who knew me well and whom I worked with so well. Everything feels foreign – not necessarily bad – but different, and therefore uncomfortable.

My mom taught alternative education and resource and was very gifted in terms of connecting with at-risk youth. All the students loved her. She was kind and gentle and calm and patient. She helped students believe in themselves and take risks because she always believed in them and saw their strengths in the face of many obstacles.

My mom was also a very dedicated educator who worked tirelessly to plan engaging lessons that also met the diverse learning needs of her students. She knew important stuff that I don’t know. Stuff that I really need to know for my new job. She could help me a lot if I could only talk with her on the phone. If she could, I think she would even fly out here and help me set up my classroom. And that would fun and I would relax. She would tell me that it’s going to be okay and remind me that I can ask her about anything at any time. She would take a real interest in my work and we would talk about it every day.

My mom was knowledgeable about special education because she kept taking university courses throughout her teaching career. She was always learning. I started taking a university course this week, and right away I am super frustrated because the professor keeps responding to my specific questions by sending the link to the assignment, as if I haven’t already read it thoroughly. I’m so frustrated I want to scream and say, “Fuck it, why am I spending all this time and money on a course with a professor who doesn’t know how to communicate?!”. My mom would be able to relate and empathize based on her own university experience, and she would also direct me on how to solve the problem instead of just getting mad and quitting.

In conclusion, this week was overwhelming. Mostly I am at peace about my parents not being here, but extreme stress triggers the deep-rooted grief that is never going to go away. I am grateful for my husband and his unfailing support and reassuring presence and love. And I am soothed by writing these words that invoke my parents’ wise, loving, and loyal spirits.

Thanks for reading.

Author: Prairie Drifter

Chris & Teri are a Canadian couple who are embarking on a move from Morden, Manitoba to Victoria, B.C. Although Chris & Teri had a really good life in Manitoba, they were craving adventure, challenge, a milder climate, and a more active and urban lifestyle. So even though it meant giving up steady jobs and moving far away from dear friends and family, they are making the leap across the country to establish a new life together on Vancouver Island.

6 thoughts on “Grief Attack”

  1. Teri, you are so beautiful and brave in everything you do including in sharing your feelings of grief, anxiousness and doubt. I am certain that many of us can relate to what so eloquently shared. Thank you. I know you will do amazingly well in your new position as you share the same qualities that you described in your Mom. You got this!!

    Liked by 1 person

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