I know I often say how grateful I am for the kids I teach, but weeks like this one really drive home how grateful I truly am.
Last Thursday, a really good friend of mine I’ve known since I was 10 died. She was about a week shy of her 29th birthday, and left behind a husband and two kids, 4 and 2, and of course her family and friends.
She hadn’t been feeling well for about a year, but tests came back inconclusive so she ignored it. It got too bad to ignore last year and she went to the Er, where her stats dropped as they were running tests. They sent her to a hospital at the next big city 2.5 hours away where they finally found out she had Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, but she died before they could even start to treat it.
If you know me, you know I’ve known a lot of people to die. I almost see it as a sort of cost for loving so many people, but it doesn’t make each loss suck any less. The depth of how much I feel it and how much time it takes to grieve varies person to person, and I’ve been trying to teach myself how to actually feel all the emotions with it–let me tell ya, it’s been a time. This friend was the 8th person I’ve known to die since I started yoga in December and really took this intent of not ignoring emotion, but this one did me in so much that I actually allowed myself to avoid emotion. I gave myself a deadline, until the funeral, which was Tuesday.
We were on spring break when I found out last Thursday, so my Monday class was the first one I had. I was supposed to finish cutting music, choreographing my last dance, and getting the music onto CD to use in class, but my life essentially just stopped after she died. I didn’t bother with any of it.
I felt bad. I felt like I was going back on my word with these kids. I’m sure the Saturday kids will be a little sad I don’t have the right music (theirs is the one I need to cut) but I’m sure they’ll be alright in the end.
I did end up having a bit of time on my hands today, so I did get the last dance choreographed before I had to teach tonight, which felt like a mini victory. I was hoping to cut the song today, too, but it seems all the exhaustion I suppose adrenaline was putting off subsided and hit me all at once before class. But, of course, I must keep going.
But my kids, oh, my kids.
On Monday, they were all so sweet and so excited to be back in class. It truly warmed my heart to be around them (and everyone was there!) which was a balm I didn’t know my heart needed. I’ve made friends with a good amount of the dance moms this year that have been watching out for me and checking in, which means more to me than I could ever begin to explain. One of them even sent me a card in the mail with a bunch of herbal tea that is proven to help heal broken hearts (😭) and her daughter wrote me a note with a picture. I picked it up from the post office after I left the funeral and promptly sat in my car and cried.
It was, indeed, healing. (And the tea, also)
I had that sweet student in class today, and she came up to me and hugged me so tight and said, “I’m sorry your friend died.” And let me tell you I about lost it again right there.
Children have a magic all their own. They’ll share it with you if you let them.
One of my dear teacher friends wrote me a card as well, which really meant a lot. Especially given the gravity that, unfortunately, this has been such a reoccurring thing lately. It meant a lot to know that I wasn’t the only one who saw that, though.
I’m still learning to allow myself to grieve. To let myself feel and process and give space for the natural order of things. To understand that death is a part of life, and that not all my friends are dying even if it seems like they are. I’m currently trying to not let myself give into the fear of the fact that I still have so much and so many to lose, but instead to enjoy who and what I have now while I have it. To appreciate the value of breath in my lungs.
See, my friend died from one of my biggest fears. “Doctors don’t know” what’s wrong with me, which is what happened to her. We had actually just talked about it. My unspoken fear is that I have something extreme, like cancer, that’s underlying and will just take me out like that. And my fear happened to her.
Chances are it’s a conglomeration if genetics and also being a highly sensitive empath that’s had 30 years of avoided emotion Im just now learning not to suppress, but how am I to know if doctors won’t help me here? Anyway, that’s another blog post for another day.
For today, I’m grateful to be alive, grateful for the wonderful people dance has brought into my life, grateful Im still able to teach, and grateful for the students I have that share a bit of their magic with me every week.