Sunday, April 29, 2007

Plans - or the lack of them

Usually at about this time I have plans for the summer. But this summer, nothing. No cross Canada trips. No B.C. weddings. Nothing. And I want this summer to be special because it is a big summer. It is the summer of my 30th birthday and I want to celebrate it (instead of agonize over it). I want to experience something new. Go to a new, exotic place. Go with someone and enrich a friendship. Go and discover something new about myself. I have so many vague possibilities but nothing concrete. Does any one have any suggestions?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Litany and a Harbinger of Hope

I survived the week and slowly but surely the relatives of the man who passed away are trickling back into school. How can you recover from this?

Unfortunately the suicide is not the only thing to recover from. My first few days back, my students gave me the list of everything that happened over Easter break. Some of the things happened in other communities but up here, even though the communities are far apart geographically, they are close emotionally because of all the family ties. In Trout, there was the suicide and a roll over (with the driver's drinking). In Red Earth, there was a kid (maybe two) hit by a vehicle. In Wabasca there was another death by a drunk driving accident. One of my students has a brother whose friends were hit by a train. And the list goes on and on. My students has a rotten week of tragedy. They weren't coming back to school refreshed but were returning emotionally stressed. So it was an odd week. I felt like I was walking on eggshells. There was some mild misbehaviour but I let a lot of it slide until they could feel comfortable again. For some of my students, school is truly their refuge.

So then my students have the gall to say, "Miss, you are no fun. You don't party." I had to remind them of all the damage that partying has done to their lives and their families. Again I didn't want to dig too deep. Instead I reminded them that I can have fun and remember it the next day and not regret anything.

The events of the week definitely had an effect on my students. I was struggling with one group of students when they start yelling and talking about being "F-ing no good Trout Indians," so why should they do work. It is hard when a roll model dies so tragically. I lost it at that point and said, "That's is completely not true and I never want to hear that from your mouths again. You all have worth. All of you." I am going to have to keep on reminding them of that.

But there is hope in all this despair. We had laughter and an ice cream party and have smiled. And today I went for a walk and saw my first pussy willows of spring.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My soul is downcast

It was a beautiful drive up to Trout - clear roads, little traffic (go figure), sunshine, pumping music. I got home and decided to continue the happy times as I unpacked my car. I got to song three on my CD when the phone rang. It was one of my fellow teachers welcoming me back. We chatted for a bit when she asked the question. "So have you heard the news yet? It seems like something bad always happens over the holidays. N's dad passed away. He committed suicide. The funeral is tomorrow."

My soul is heavy.

I have two of his daughters in my classes. One of the daughters has had a rough year. She used to be a model student - friendly, eager - but this year she has struggled because her family was struggling and her dad was drinking. Now the struggle for her has gotten tougher and I know that I can not take away any of her pain.

My soul weeps.

This father was a role model last year until alcohol caught up with him. He has a great family. He had a job. He was the "go to guy" in Trout. He was a preacher in the church and toured around other communities preaching and now he is gone. Not only gone - but he viewed life as so hopeless and empty that he saw no reason to continue it and decided to shoot himself and leave all of the pain behind to multiply in his family and community. This is an attack on the weak faith of the Christains here. This is an attack on any glimmer of hope that the youth in the community had. If he couldn't make it, how can they understand that they can make it?

God my soul utters groans that can not be uttered and pours out pain that goes so deep and questions why this had to happen in a community that already knows so much hurt and pain. Lord we need your comfort.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Introducing . . .

Here he is . . . the new little man in my life . . . Coban Lee Dejager. And yes I am having a wonderful time at home.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

An announcement

I have a new boy in my life. His name is Cobin. He has red hair. Weighs 8 or so pounds and is about 3 days old. YESSSS!!! Finally my sister had her baby and finally there is a nephew for me to adore and love. To make matters even better, in three and a half days I get to load up Suvette and take the long 10 hour drive to see my new little man, my two lovely nieces and the rest of my family. And in a week, I can have my first cup of coffee in 40 days or so.