Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I spoke about the friend who died, the one I thought was a lifetime friend. I remember thinking "forever!" when I asked him in the hallway, "Do you ever feel like you just don't fit in?" and he answered without hesitation, "Yes." We were 39, teetering on the cliff of 40 together, holding hands and hoping the fall wasn't as steep as it seemed. I forgot that some forevers are really short, shorter than a season. He didn't get to fall into 40 with me after all.
His classroom was a safe place to share yourself, your thoughts, your ideas. Kids knew he wasn't a phony. He listened. He threw his arms out wide and laughed. He challenged. There were rules. He took no shit, and rearranged the room if there were any jokers. He was respected.
I spoke about what an honor it was to have known him, and how I wouldn't have met him if it weren't for my work in the schools. I was there for his parents, not myself, not really for any award. Oh, it felt right, but damn it, I still miss him.