Life can sure be filled with surprises…some good, some bad. We never really know what is around the corner. Sometimes we turn the corner, and we are confronted with something beautiful, something wonderful, something we are so happy to be a part of. Other times we encounter something unpleasant, something frightening, something we wish we didn’t have to face. Two weeks ago I turned that proverbial corner to be faced with the loss of a long-time friend.
Nancy and I began our friendship years ago when we taught together…I taught second grade and she taught third. I was always so glad when she got some of my students the next year because I knew they would be in great and very capable hands. Years later she became my asst. principal, principal, and finally superintendent. She was a strong and formidable leader, one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. Some people mistook that strength for aloofness and perhaps even hard-heartedness, but those of us who really knew her knew she had a very tender heart.
Nancy found out she had a very aggressive cancer only 5 or 6 weeks before we lost her. At first I grieved over the fact that she went so quickly, but after thinking about it I knew that Nancy would never have wanted to linger and be without the strength she had always had. She retired only three years ago and was so happy having much more time to spend with her son, daughter, and grandchildren. She had been divorced for many years, and her family was her number one priority.
Another good friend and co-worker gave Nancy’s eulogy, and I just have to share this…partly because it’s such a funny story but mostly so I will have it written down where I won’t forget it. One day Nancy and a co-worker from her office were driving down the interstate when they were flashed by a naked man riding in a bus of some sort. He didn’t “moon” them…he flashed in full glory!!! Nancy and her friend took down the tag number and called it in to the police. The man was caught and Nancy was called in to “identify” the guy. While being asked this in the police station, Nancy promptly told the detective, “I wasn’t really looking at his face but if you show me a full frontal view I can definitely pick it out!” You would have to know Nancy to really get the full effect of this story, but take my word for it….you would have laughed really hard if you had been there!
So, to my friend, principal, and superintendent Nancy…you always made me want to be a better teacher. You made me want to give 100% because you were always giving 110! Thank you for the times you visited my room to watch me teach and then left me a little note patting me on the back…no other principal I ever had did that! Thank you for caring about the children of our community and for working hard to be a good leader. Rest in peace, dear Nancy…job well done!
And even though my heart has been sad over this loss, this week my heart was filled with joy because one of my former students who I still love dearly and am still close to became a daddy for the first time to TWIN BOYS. After a rough pregnancy with a few scares, both boys were born strong and healthy. God is good…all the time.