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to Sofa Girls #1, #2, #3...

Posted by Suzanne D. on 1/08/05 at 08:45 (166694)

Judy, I am glad to hear that you feel better and seem to be over the worst of your bout! I am sure your sense of humor helped, and it was good to read your posts - even though I was sorry for the reason that you had extra time to be here.

So your mother made you cinnamon toast when you were ill? My mother always heated chicken noodle soup and made buttered crackers when I was sick. The saltine cracker squares were lightly buttered and then toasted in the broiler until they were 'just right'. Add Sprite and the couch and Kaptain Kangaroo, and it seemed that no illness could withstand those comforts! :)

Wendy, I'm sorry that you have been battling a virus. It sure seemed to hit you quickly, didn't it? You mentioned being at the gym, and that made me think of the friend you lost, and I thought that is strong of you to keep going there even though I know it brings her to mind. Hang in there, and I hope you feel your best soon!

I think of you often in that regard, probably in part because of my loss of a good friend in November. I have not been sleeping well lately and have had disturbing dreams about her and how she could not breathe at the end. She lived alone, and I had talked to her that night at 7:00 on the phone. She called her brother who lived nearby about three hours later and said three words, 'Help...can't breathe'. The dreams and lack of sleep have been disturbing. I spoke with our school counselor Thursday to inquire about a grief counselor whom she enlisted to talk to our faculty the week after my friend (and our colleauge) died. She had offered to talk with any of us at a later time if we felt we would like to do so. Our school counselor said she is coming to school to talk with a couple of students who have lost relatives, and I asked to set up a time to talk to her during my planning time. I thought it might really help. Other than writing about her on this board, I haven't had much of a chance to deal with her death, so I am hoping this is a good move.

Carole, I was sorry to read that you are sick. I hope your weekend is restful and that you are much better by worktime on Monday. Your flexible days off reminded me of my mother's time off with her job (state employment) which could be taken by the hour or day. I remember her often taking her combined lunchtime along with an hour of this time to walk down the street and play the piano for a funeral at our church. She'd change her shoes at work and bring the music with her and was glad to be of use this way without having to take a half-day of leave.

In our school district, we receive 10 sick days for each school year which can be accumulated through the years. There is a sick bank to which one can donate and then apply for extra leave if there is a catastrophic illness. We have 3 personal days each year which must be applied for at least 24 hours in advance, and these cannot be used the day before or the day after a vacation time such as Christmas or Spring Break.

Of course most people think teachers have so much 'off time', but we really do spend a great deal of the summer in trainings and meetings and preparing for the next school year. Still, I know we have advantages over many workplaces, especially for those teachers of school-age children who have the advantage of being off much of the time when their children are home. We do often bring work home with us, but I would always try to do that work after my children were in bed or early in the morning before they got up so that I could spend time with them in the evenings.

Well, this has gotten to be a long note. Sorry! I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Suzanne :)

Re: to Sofa Girls #1, #2, #3...

Carole C in NOLA on 1/08/05 at 09:20 (166701)

Suzanne, I'm so sorry to hear of your sadness and disturbing dreams about your good friend. I hope the school counselor can help. I feel certain that if your positions had been reversed, and you had passed away instead of your good friend, you would have wanted her to remember the good times you had, and you would have wanted your loving friendship for each other to strengthen her, instead of her being sad and having bad dreams. But dealing with grief is easier said than done.

I taught as a temporary math and science teacher in private schools back in the 1970's, and I remember all the work it involves! I used to be so incensed because people thought I only worked from 8-3, when the students were there. I not only had mountains of homework and tests to grade, but we also had to get to school early and stay late so that someone was there for the early/late students. We never got to actually rest and enjoy lunch, but had to eat that horrible school food with the students and be a good example, too. Teaching is a demanding and difficult job!

My fever broke around daybreak this morning, and I am feeling MUCH better. I'm still feeling a bit weak and clammy, but resting and keeping warm. I hope that maybe that Virus 2005 will be a distant memory soon for Sofa Girls number 2 and 3.

Carole C

Re: Suzanne

wendyn on 1/08/05 at 12:07 (166705)

Suzanne, I hope that your talks with the grief counsellor help. Very wise to address your feelings now. After losing his best friend about 6 years ago to lung cancer, my husband buried himself in his work and refused to grieve. About 4 years later, he was still dealing with some pretty substaintial psychological after-effects. It was only after finally going to counselling at that point was he able to heal.

I knew he was getting better one day when I saw a picture of his friend up on our 'photo' wall. Up to that point, it was like he'd tried to shut out his memory entirely.

How is your daughter doing? How was her visit home from college?

Re: On teaching

wendyn on 1/08/05 at 12:08 (166706)

On ocassion, I've taught courses at work. They are short, and I'm teaching adults. I cannot BELIEVE how tired I am after one day of teaching. That experience has given me profound respect for people who can do it every day!!!!!

Re: to Sofa Girls #1, #2, #3...

marie on 1/08/05 at 13:07 (166710)

Sorry to hear you're having dreams about your friend. Sometimes dreams remind us that we need to take care of ourselves. After my mother passed away I had a series of dreams too. I think it was a way for me to work out in my mind my loss. I didn't really have a chance to grieve right after she passed away. There was too much that had to be done. Before I knew it I was back at work and going about my life when it hit me. It's nice your counselor was willing to help you. I have to admit I have spoken to many school counselors on bad days. I have thought about you from time to time knowing that this loss has really hurt you and I will keep you in my thoughts through this time.

Take care marie

Re: to Sofa Girls #1, #2, #3...

Suzanne D. on 1/09/05 at 08:40 (166770)

I'm so glad your virus isn't hanging around very long, Carole! I hope you even feel better today.

Thank you for your understanding and practical words. I appreciate your comments. And you are right: Ann would not want me to be moping around. I think part of my 'problem' is that I always felt so responsible for her - although she did not want me to feel that way, I am sure. She was single, was brilliant and talented, but was somewhat of a loner and didn't have many close friends. I tried to do things to help her without making her feel I thought she needed the help, if you know what I mean. In the end, there was really nothing I could do.

She had been in the hospital and then a rehab center around the time school began. She had gone to visit a brother near Washington, D.C. and was hospitalized there. The family called to let me know, and I talked to her almost daily. She got to come back to school, being driven by another brother, but just never could get her strength back. When I talked to her that night, she was so out-of-breath. I didn't talk long as I was afraid I would tire her more. She promised me she was going to the doctor the next day, and her brother had been over to check on her. I just wish I had insisted that we come over and take her to the hospital, although in my heart I know she would have refused to go. It just bears on my mind.

Well, thanks again, Carole, for your words.
Suzanne :)

Re: On teaching

Suzanne D. on 1/09/05 at 08:41 (166771)

Thank you, Wendy, for your kind words.
Suzanne :)

Re: Suzanne

Suzanne D. on 1/09/05 at 08:43 (166772)

I'm glad your husband is dealing positively with his friend's death, Wendy. I am the type who just keeps going and trying to smile and keep everything stuffed down inside (unless I am writing about it to you all!). I am looking forward to talking to the grief counselor tomorrow during my planning time.

My daughter has been twice to her counselor and has another appointment before she goes back to college. Thanks for asking; I think it is helping. Of course her 5-week break between semesters has me concerned that it will be harder to go back. But I'm trying not to worry about it but be positive for her.

Suzanne :)

Re: to Sofa Girls #1, #2, #3...

Suzanne D. on 1/09/05 at 08:46 (166773)

Thank you, Marie. Yes, I think dreams are sort of a safety-valve for us, don't you? I just thought I had better try to do something now in a positive way so that I do not get more depressed as time goes by. You are right in that we often are so busy doing the things we must do when someone dies that we push back our feelings and thoughts which must be dealt with in order to heal.

Our school counselor is a friend and very positive person. She contacted a grief counselor to be there for us at a faculty meeting the week after Ann died. Since the grief counselor is coming to school to talk with a couple of children, she is able to see me at that time. I appreciate our counselor helping set that up for me.

Take care,
Suzanne :)

Re: to Sofa Girls #1, #2, #3...

Kathy G on 1/09/05 at 10:04 (166777)


I'm glad that you are going to see the Grief Counselor. It always helps to talk about a loss and although you can talk about your friend here, it's not the same as talking face to face with a person knowledgeable about the grief process. I know that when my sister's husband died, she never grieved properly until she finally went for counseling and it took a long time to get her to go.

Your daughter may find that she goes back to school, following the break, feeling newly refreshed and she may even view it almost as a new experience. I know that my children always seemed much more rejuvinated after the Christmas break. I hope she will, too.

Re: Suzanne

wendyn on 1/09/05 at 13:37 (166791)

Suzanne - when does your daughter start back at school? 5 weeks IS a nice long break. Eric was only off from Dec 22 to Jan 6.

Re: Suzanne

Suzanne D. on 1/09/05 at 14:14 (166793)

She goes back January 23 and came home December 16. The college has a January term of three weeks which is optional for the students. Since my daughter completed 19 hours last semester, there was no need for her to try to work in another class during the January term - besides it would also be extra money for that term. It's good if you need to get in another class, but not necessary at this time for her. That's why the long break.

I am hoping, as Kathy wrote, that the break will work for her good and that she will be ready for a fresh start with a different outlook. The counselor talks to her about 're-framing' situations, so maybe she can utilize that concept.

Thanks for asking,
Suzanne :)

Re: to Sofa Girls #1, #2, #3...

Suzanne D. on 1/09/05 at 14:19 (166794)

You're right, Kathy. I feel it can only help to talk to her about my thoughts and feelings.

As I wrote in a post to Wendy, I am hopeful my daughter will be able to go back to college feeling rejuvenated, as you said.

Our school is being audited by a team this week. We are a 'successful school' (scores high enough, etc.), so it was not mandatory, but our principal volunteered us! (I don't remember how to type in a sad or mad face here, but I would if I could!) It has involved very time-consuming and tedious preparations, and of course we're all nervous about our one-on-one interviews and observations, etc. But we'll get through it. I had secretly hoped for snow so that school would be cancelled, and the principal would be the one to deal with them, but that's not going to happen with 50 - 60 degree weather predicted! Oh, well, life always has its challenges, doesn't it?!

Suzanne :)

Re: To Suzanne D

Kathy in Ky on 1/09/05 at 16:27 (166801)

Suzanne, a friend of a friend lost her 18 year old son in a car wreck about two years ago. She had dreaded her son's birthday but came up with a special day that honored him & helped her get through the day. Instead of being depressed on his birthday, she invited his family & friends to bring a special gift to a celebration to remember him. I don't remember if she chose a specific charity or if the individuals chose their own. But I do remember this helped her so much. You might want to honor your friend by celebrating her life with a get together & choose a charity that was close to her heart. I'm glad you are going to a grief counselor, I'm sure this will help you deal with missing her in the months ahead. As for snow days for school, it looks like we won't be sleeping in for a couple weeks according to our weather forecasts.

Re: To Suzanne D

Suzanne D. on 1/09/05 at 20:44 (166812)

That's a wonderful idea, Kathy! Thank you for sharing it with me. I know my friend would think that was a grand plan.

Yes, maybe we'll have a snow day in February!

Have a good week,
Suzanne :)