As many of you know or might have heard, my Grandpa passed away this Wednesday morning, peacefully and in his sleep. I am so grateful that after many years of fighting the disease that was robbing him of his health, he passed from this world without pain.
It has been an interesting experience handling the news on my own, in another country, without family. My heart hurts because I cannot be at the funeral on Saturday with them, or especially be there for my dad as he mourns the loss of his father. Thank you to my brother, Travis, for reading for me what I wrote for the service.
I wasn't sure if I was going to go to school today, but I am so glad that I did. I had my 12th grade class first thing. I was holding it together pretty well. We played a warm up game then I wrote the following quote on the board.
"Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."
We discussed the meaning of the quote, how it doesn't matter how long your life is, but what matters are those moments, those things that define you and make you appreciate life and life it to the fullest. This is when I broke down and told them that my grandfather had passed away. The tears flowed and I told them that I wanted to take this class to discuss the moments that took THEIR breath away, or a moment in their lives that defined them.
Before I knew it, my amazing, awesome 12th graders were pouring out their hearts. One boy talked about his mother passing away at age 15. Another also had a grandfather pass away just last week. Another talked about his best friend who committed suicide a few years ago. There was not a dry eye in the entire classroom. What an amazing moment for me as a teacher, to bond with my students in this way. (And they were speaking English!)
No matter how "American" I am, and no matter how "Romanian" they always will be, no matter the cultural differences or language barrier, I was reminded today that together, we are all just people. All the same, with feelings, emotions, with grief as well as joy. What an amazing moment for me here in Romania.
Thank you to my 12th grade class who trusted me enough to pour out their hearts today. You don't know what it meant to me, especially during this time.