a goodbye

I’m trying to find the words to express this and bear with me, because I am struggling.  A professor from my undergraduate degree died last night in a horrible fire here in Boise.  I loved her class.  I deeply admired her and my memories of her are wonderful.  I’ve been traveling back and forth between crying and remembering.

Just this past weekend I was thinking about her and her class.  Today I’ve been remembering those funny moments I had in my time around her.  I learned from her academically, but I also learned from her personally.  I remember asking her about a part of our linguistics class… this was in one of her great study sessions… I asked her if the area we were studying was intuitive.  She stopped for a moment and then told me, “Yes.  For about 1% of the population.”  She had a beautiful smile, a wonderful sense of humor and she gave her students all of herself.  I came out of her class wanting to change over to linguistics, even though I was far too deep into my major to do it.

I had a small baby back then…  I had to bring him to class with me and she just accepted it, made a cool comment about starting him off right.  She played guitar for us…  She cared about us.  She taught us…

So here’s what I want to say to her…  I miss your class and I miss you.  I wish I’d grabbed that enjoyment of learning from you and taken more of your classes, but I’m glad that I got the experience that I did.  You touched my life.  To your family – I am so, so sorry that you lost her.  All those of us that she gave so much to are out here, keeping her spirit alive.

And to the teachers out there…  this is how much you impact your students.  You can be the one that your students will always remember.  What you do is important.  You make a difference.

Goodbye Mary Ellen.  Your memories are a part of my life.

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