Today my little girl and I attended the funeral of her teacher Katie-Jane Day.
If you’re reading this and you don’t know me, my family or my daughter’s teacher, these words will likely wash over you. You might feel a pang of regret at hearing of a funeral so close to Christmas. You may be quite sympathetic and mentally note how awful it must be for the family of the teacher. Then your thoughts will turn again to preparing dinner or bathing your kids or shopping or ironing your clothes for work. You may even go back to planning your next social gathering or Christmas family lunch. All these things are reasonable and part of life.
Here’s the thing. I did know Katie. She was in her early thirties and pregnant, about to embark on the glorious journey that is motherhood. She had family. She had friends. She loved netball. She taught primary school children and expanded young minds. She demanded respect and believed in actions with consequence; my anxious little girl was always slightly scared of letting her down because Katie was unrelenting in her expectation that students listen and learn. She could be sweetly accommodating if you asked her for help. She was generous with her time in teacher-parent discussions. She rewarded students for trying their best and cared about them. She took her role seriously and, as I heard today, was extremely proud to say she was a teacher.
One day last week she died. It was unexpected and one of those things that could never have been predicted. Katie’s baby was delivered early and she left this world without getting to know her new little man.
Where am I going with this blog post? I wasn’t sure when I started writing it. I want to rail against the passing of someone so young, someone who had so much to look forward to. I am overwhelmingly angry with the unfairness of Katie’s son growing up without his Mum. I am heartbroken that her husband’s joy at the birth of his son is all mixed up and muddled with the loss of his wife. I wonder at how someone can reconcile those emotions and move forward and face the day.
Right now, I’m sitting in my kitchen watching my little girl create dance routines to pop music. She’s free and joyful in her pursuit and watching her do this brings me happiness and contentment. My house is messy, there’s dirty dishes in the sink, the dog needs feeding and my daughter’s collection of painted cereal and other boxes still sits on the dining room floor from her Sunday creation of “Box City”. This same floor needs vacuuming, the furniture needs dusting, feathers and seed adorns the space around the bird-cage and my little girl really needs a bath.
There is life in our little home, in all it’s messy and dishevelled glory and right now I feel like I am the luckiest, luckiest, luckiest person in the whole world.