a beloved teacher from teenage daughter’s school passed away over the holidays. she was one of those incredible people you meet who are so burrowed into a community’s psyche that you cannot think of the place without thinking of the person. and today, i attended the memorial service that took place at the school for the upper school students, staff and any parents and alumnae who wished to be there. although i’m quite capable at crying at the drop of a hat – just walking up to her husband (who i did not know) to hold his hand for a moment and pay my respects was the beginning of my tears. trying to sit through the choir singing ‘the water is wide’ without having spasms of anxiety was my challenge today. (the song i fell in love with and sang every day of my pregnancy and every day when teenage daughter was a baby and acknowledged that it would be my choice (but not sung with sadness but with a stiff backbone and some power) should my own memorial service ever come about.) another death from the ‘c that shall not be named’. (i am rolling my eyes as i type this – trying not to spit three times on the floor or other moments to ban the worst.)
i have never heard the word ‘fierce’ (fierce; fiercely; ferocity) used so many times independently by so many speakers – some of them current students and many of them alum or staff. it inspired me – i knew this about her but sometimes forgot that people – even as they get in their 50s and 60s – can still be quite fierce and forward. yes, she was the drama teacher (and english teacher and community choir director and actor and stage director and mentor for so many) and therefore many of her students who spoke had a natural talent for the word both written and spoken. but i was touched and excited to hear so many truely eloquently-spoken memories of her and hoped that every student there had the same deep emotional potential – in fact, for the first time in a while, i felt positive that they did.
thank you marlene for being a big part of guiding my beautiful teenage daughter and making her feel confident in her steps. she had less time with you than she wished but i suspect you will be with her in thought and deed and example for her entire life.