Helping those who grieve!

I know that many of you come here for education and Web 2.0. However, rather than sit around and think about what YOU want to hear, I have always made it a point to share with those who read what is on my mind and heart.

Whatever is going on in my life is mirrored in my blog. I do have a lot of exciting wiki, digital storytelling things and others to share with you (and I will soon), but right now my thoughts turn to my father in law.

As I've blogged previously, he is in the final stages of Parkinsons Disease and although Doctors have extended his life by at least 5 years through medication, he can barely swallow now. My husband and I have been numb for the last several weeks as we've adjusted life. It is not about us or how we feel right now, that can come later. It is about being there for him, loving him, praying for him, and making him comfortable. That is it!

The selfish people that say, “I just can't deal with it.” That drives me crazy! Get over it!

How I counsel students
I am the empathetic, motherly type. When we've had losses at school, it has often fallen to my lot to talk to kids invidually or as a class. Although I'm not the final “grief counseling” expert. I am a part of things.

Because this is important to me, I want to share with you what I share with them, when I counsel my students who are dealing with death or a friend's death of a loved one, I always tell them this:

1- Be there.
When you're having a tough time you want your friends around. You don't want them to do anything necessarily. It just means a lot that they love you!

2 – Be quiet and listen.
Golly, gee. As much as I am a Christian, I am not ever one of those who would ever preach at someone whose lost a loved one. Although I believe “All things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose,” when you lose a loved one, you don't want to hear it right then. You just don't! No preaching, just listen to me. Cry with me. Love me. Laugh with me and share memories. Don't tell me “its all going to work out” because you know what, when you lose a loved one, it hurts. It is not going to be all right or work out at that moment. It is painful beyond belief. Let me mourn! Let me go through the process because it cannot be circumvented!

You never get over a loved one, you just learn to live with it. When they are close to you, you love them and miss them as long as you're alive! That is the way it is. (As a Christian, I do have comfort in my beliefs and those who have passed on, but right now, just hold me and be my friend.

3 – Meet immediate needs
If I'm hungry, feed me. Help me. Be there for me. Pitch in. You can't do it all, just do what comes to mind and is in your skillset. If it is hugging, hug me!

Although we thought he'd live several months, as I wrote this post, my father in law died 300 miles away. (I guess somehow, I knew.) I just received the phone call. I may not post for a few days…

Remember, life is never to busy to be there for someone who grieves. These are the truly important things in life, life itself!

Time for time alone… I am grateful for those of you who take time to read and listen to “just” a computer teacher. When it is my time, I'll be glad I spent my time teaching, and blogging.


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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Diane P September 22, 2006 - 12:29 am

As difficult as the transition is, aren’t you glad to have known your father-in-law? We are blessed by our elders in so many uncounted ways.
Sympathies to you and your family.

My father-in-law was a little crotchety at the end but he was always kind to me and our children.

Jude September 22, 2006 - 2:52 am

This is a wonderful post which I am sure I will refer to often in the future. Thanks for writing it.

Cheryl Lykowski September 22, 2006 - 10:02 am

Vicki, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I appreciate you taking the time and sharing how you deal with this for your students. We have several families at school that lost their fathers right before school started this year. Talk about a tremendous load for those kids. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Karyn Romeis September 22, 2006 - 10:04 am

How the world of blogging brings distant people together. I feel your loss as keenly as I would that of a colleague based right here in my office.

Thanks for all that you give of yourself and may you be on the receiving end, for a while, of the sort of caring you provide to so many others.

Virtual hug.

Dee September 24, 2006 - 1:39 am

You and your family will be in my prayers.

Karen Janowski September 26, 2006 - 7:57 pm

You are in my prayers and my sympathies to you and your family as you mourn the loss but also celebrate the life of your father-in-law.

jaime April 13, 2007 - 12:50 am

Just browsing blogs today… you sound like an incredibly wonderful and compassionate person. :)

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere