Getting to spend an afternoon with my friend, Jacquie, in her classroom is always a treat. I love having a chance to hang out with younger students, especially since I teach at a middle school. The afternoon I spent there a few weeks ago ended up being an incredibly powerful one for me. My only intention when I went there was to take a few photographs of the students hanging out with their classroom kitty. Instead, I ended up experiencing several special moments that served as reminders of Life’s beautiful gifts. Last week I shared Part 1 – Healing Music. So today here’s Part 2.
Part 2: The Gift of Remembering
While the students were outside for recess and Jacquie stepped out to heat up our lunch, I found myself alone in the room. My eyes soon fell upon the memory board that my friend had created as a way for her students to remember their kitty Grace, who had passed away suddenly in October. My heart was immediately pulled back to that day that filled us all with deep sadness. You can read about that here. Finding Gratitude Through Heartache
Jacquie had shared with me how therapeutic it was for the students to have a special place to share their thoughts and memories of Grace, but until that very moment I had not had a chance to see it. I grabbed my camera and spent a few minutes soaking up all the love that was carefully printed by the students, teachers, and the principal of the school. They started out with one Bristol board, but as you can see in the picture above one board soon expanded to four.
The messages were an outpouring of love for their sweet furry friend. I realized how blessed these little people were to have experienced the beauty of life in a classroom with a kitty, and how much the sudden death of their beloved kitty had also taught them. Life is certainly not always sunny, but even when the storm clouds roll in, there is love.
It was evident how much they loved her, and although she was no longer physically present, they still felt that love.
“It teaches us a lesson that you can only have things for a certain amount of time, and it’s part of the life cycle of people and animals.” ~former student~
“Everything has to go at one point but you can always keep the memories in your head and your heart.” ~former student~
“You can’t always have everything for as long as you want, so you have to enjoy the time you have it.” ~former student~
“When she died, we were sad, but when she was alive, she made us laugh, and helped us be calm.” ~former student~
The children learned many lessons by sharing their classroom with Grace; they also learned powerful lessons about death. Lessons felt deeply inside their hearts.
On that sad day when Jacquie had to stand before her students and share the news of Grace’s death, she shared a paraphrased quote (using Webster’s Dictionary and allaboutgod.com). I feel the quote perfectly sums up the gifts that Grace brought to the lives of those she touched. (Including my life)
“Grace is a gift from God that is just given to you without you asking for anything … it just comes to you. It is provided to help you or bring you something you didn’t know you needed or even wanted.”