So, a couple of posts ago, I mentioned that Reed’s teacher passed away in a car accident. The last couple of weeks have been filled with us dealing with the aftermath as it has affected Reed, and since this is a storybook of our lives, I just wanted to record some of the things we’ve gone through.
Until he returned to school, the news really didn’t affect him too much. He would say something about his teacher and then remember she wouldn’t be there. We told him the name of the teacher who would be in there for a few days and he seemed comfortable with that.
The first morning back to school was hard. Really hard. As we got closer to school, I started crying and couldn’t stop. Every morning when we would pull in, Reed would always ask me if she was already there. I dreaded him asking that question. Thankfully, he didn’t. I tried to get a grip but walking across the parking lot into school I had to take deep gulps to keep from starting again. We got into school and the air was just sad. I got Reed into his classroom and got him settled. Along with the substitute (who was actually a familiar face at school), they also had the librarian in there to help. Fortunately Reed did pretty well. I left a blubbering mess. Thankfully looking at these smiles through out the day helped.
That afternoon when he was picked up, he wouldn’t talk to me. He didn’t want to tell me anything. The substitute said he had a good day and asked her if she wanted him to direct a song they were going to sing. :) Sweet boy. I got home that night and was able to get him to talk to me a little bit but not much.
The next day was okay at drop off. There wasn’t a lot to report from school, but Reed still didn’t talk a whole lot that night. I was starting to worry a little about him. That night he woke up crying several times. Around 4:00 I finally went into his room and could tell he was dreaming with the crying. I woke him up and asked him if he wanted to come to my bed. On our walk there I asked him if he was dreaming. He said yes and I asked him what had happened. Side note: He has an imaginary fire station and the people there are his fire stationers. He talks about his fire station daily. End side note. He told me that in his dream, his fire stationers had a car crash and had died. I told him they were okay and not dead but he was pretty adamant they were. I scooped him into bed and snuggled him close. When we woke up, I asked him why he was having bad dreams and he said it was because Mrs. Perez wasn’t coming back. :( Fortunately he only had about one other night with nightmares.
We also had some various teachers through the end of the week. The school has been great about trying to have consistency for them but it is hard to do that with someone who isn’t a regular teachers. Subs have schedules to which they’ve already committed and the whole week was just confusing. At the end of that week, Reed was incredibly emotional. He was having crying spells over little bitty things but he was genuinely upset. My heart was just broken for him.
His class has been working on making a book with their handprints to give to his teacher’s family. They were going to ask them about a memory or something they liked about his teacher and I was trying to prep Reed just to be prepared for the questions they would ask. I asked him what he liked about Mrs. Perez. His response was just heartbreaking: “I would like her not tie die and to feel all better and come back to her whole family.”
Last Monday was the funeral for both her and her husband. It was one of the saddest things I’ve been to. The service program had a wedding photo of them (taken one month before) and Reed saw it when I got home that night. He asked if they were dancing in heaven and if they were having cake. Sweet boy. He’s trying hard to make the connection between heaven and earth. It’s been so sad watching him work through all of this. I know grief is a natural part of life but it’s not something you want to watch your three year old work through it.
I’m so proud of him and that he’s adjusting. He’s such a sweet boy and I know he’s been so confused but I’m glad he’s talking to us and expressing himself. I’m hopeful that he can continue working through all this and that he loves whoever his new teacher will be as much as he loved Mrs. Perez. RIP, Mrs. Perez. We miss you so much!