August is almost in the books and school here in Canada starts up shortly. This time of year also brings with it the memories of birthdays past. It would have been Kevin’s birthday tomorrow. It was a week long event, at minimum. His sister’s birthday follows two days later. It was busy, and demanding, and absolutely exhausting, and I miss it so much. His poor sister is left dealing with the hollowness of what was and now what is. She’s actually talked about moving her birthday celebration to a different time.
Although Kevin’s birthday was a good thing, the impending return to work was not so good. So while we celebrated birthdays, there was always the underlying awareness that soon structure would return to the house with Kevin going off to school. He’d get his old 10 speed bicycle out and check the brakes, make sure his carrier basket was sturdy and well attached and that was about it.
As he himself would say, he was a man of extreme highs and lows. Returning to work started the journey to low, and the first day of school when he met the kids in the classroom could either take him right to the bottom or level him out. I remember one year he had a class with a couple of “identified” kids in it, not unusual, but it was the six or seven that should have been identified that were the problem. When you have 28 kids in the class, having eight or nine identified kids could result in chaos for everyone, a poor learning experience for others, and frustration for the teacher.
August this year started off poorly with the death of a very remarkable woman who was my daughter’s best friend’s mom. She was also a former teaching colleague of my husband, a fun loving, kind and personable woman. Her drive took her out of the classroom and into administration and her legacy is enormous as it was her incredible vision, passion and commitment that moved forward Indigenous awareness, education and opportunity within our province. That was her day job, her full time job was as a mother, wife and friend to so very many. She was only 52 years old. Her loss is tremendous and will resonate for some time. I can well imagine how the family is feeling. Her death took me back to a place that can swallow you up in darkness instantly.
Today I heard a song by the Strumbellas and one line really hit home. “And I don’t want a never-ending life, I just want to be alive while I am here.” That’s what is left for us to do, be alive while we are here.