Working after you've just received devistating personal news.

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by ZoomZoomZOOM, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Sep 12, 2008

    I found out two nights ago that my dad has mesothelioma and has nine to fifteen months to live. I cried and cried that night and had a hard time sleeping.

    The next morning (yesterday) I was numb. But I decided to go in to work. I figured that my kids would make me smile and take my mind off of it - even if just for a little bit.

    I was okay first thing in the morning and was getting ready for my kids to arrive when one of my Aides reminded me about the upcoming 911 ceremony that would take place out in front of the school by the flag pole. She said that the school secretary always sings "Amazing Grace" and it was a real tear-jerker.

    I was scared to death to attend. I started to tell her and then I broke down. I knew that if I heard "Amazing Grace" that I would totally lose it in front of all of my brand new co-workers. When I was finally able to tell her, she was very understanding and helpful and offered to take my kids out to the ceremony for me.

    I sent an email to the principal and apologized for not attending but told him my dad's prognosis. He sent me a reply and told me that the school family would do whatever they could to help me and to just let them know.

    The principal, my aides, and one other new teacher are the only school folks that know. My kids walked in and saw that I had been crying. They were concerned but quietly went to breakfast with the Aides while I hid in my room to calm down. The rest of the day was okay. They did take my mind off of things and I was able to keep it together. Today was better. I didn't cry at all. But I still feel so sad and desolate.

    Dad's prognosis puts his passing at next summer. He starts chemo on Monday and his health will get worse. It's so hard. I was having a blast at school with my kids and now all I can think about is my dad.

    I guess I wondered if any of you experienced teachers had ever had to deal with any devistating personal issues and how you juggled work with your personal life. I know I'll have to take it one day at a time. But if you have any other advice, I'd appreciate it.
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 12, 2008

    I'm so sorry.

    My husband was sick with cancer for 3 years when he passed away. I had been teaching at my school for the prior 2 years. It was unbelievably hard, but staying home after he died would have been worse. I went back one week later. It was an unimaginable year because my two teenage children went crazy at the same time. So, I know what you are going through. All I can say is that each person is different and you just have to take it one day at a time. It is hard to predict how you will feel, when it will hit you, how you will cope. But you will. Not well, maybe, but you will. That's how life is.

    Being at school did help me to concentrate on something other than the pain, but it always came shooting through, and sometimes at the worst moments. I did actually leave my classroom to run out and cry a few times.
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sep 12, 2008

    I don't have any personal experience with something like this, but I wanted to tell you that somebody far far away will be praying for you and your family during this difficult time.

    :hugs:
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 12, 2008

    Two months after I moved to a new state and started a new job, I heard my memaw (raised me) passed away. I went to the bathroom and spent the next hour in tears. After that, I felt better being around the kids all day.

    One of my coworkers had to leave a lot last year due to her father being ill. It was hard on her.

    I hope you have opportunities to spend time with him. That's a mixed blessing. Talk to Rainstorm. She is going through the same thing. There's a few others too. I'm just not sure who they are at the moment.

    Many many hugs!
     
  6. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Sep 12, 2008

    I'm so sorry about your father's prognosis. You're family is in my prayers!!!

    I went back to work about a week after my father died verrrrrrrysuddenly. It was hard but being with the kids, in aschedule, was a little helpful I willsay.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 12, 2008

    Zoom-you and your dad and family will be in my prayers. I wasn't working when my mom took a turn for the worse which allowed me to drive her to appts that were 30 minutes away. I'm glad that I had that extra time to spend with her, even after the treatments took their toll on her, I'm glad I had that time. She passed away in July. I started my first teaching job in August. It was difficult to start the year of my first teaching job without her there to talk to, and realize that my dream to teach had come true. She did so much to help me get through college, that it was her dream come true as well and she didn't get to share it with me. I know she saw it from heaven. :) We were very close so her death hit me hard. I tried my best to make it through, but I just couldn't do it. I was close to tears almost everyday. I was teaching kinder and of course they were always asking if I had a mom or where my mom was.

    Like Daisy said, we each deal with it differently. I couldn't handle working with kinders so shortly after losing my mom.
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 12, 2008

    I'm so sorry to hear this :( My fiance came out to visit me at the end of August, we had a wonderful time and he was even able to help me set up my classroom. When he got back, he found out that his Grandfather had cancer--- in his lungs and on his spine and who knows where else.

    Yesterday, Sept 11, he passed away in his sleep. Less than three weeks since he found out and he was gone. We're all in shock.

    I don't say this to scare you, but to let you know that his family is getting through this TOGETHER and with alot of love and support. I took it very hard myself--- I grew up with only one Grandpa who died when I was in 6th grade. I was hoping when I married my Sweetheart I'd get a Grandpa too, so I was really crushed.

    My Sweetheart told me in homeroom online that Grandpa passed away. I almost started crying right there and my co-advisor found out and then took over homeroom and the 9/11 events for me. Any of my free periods I spent in my classroom, away from my door, crying. I finally decided I needed tomorrow (now today) off and started making plans to arrange that. The kids really did alot to cheer me up, but still I needed to get out of the classroom and have a private cry to myself.

    I didn't allow myself to do any work today--- I just enjoyed myself, cleaned up a bit, caught up on my sleep, and kept in touch with my Sweetheart and his family. Tomorrow is the funeral and I know after that his family will still be fine, life still goes on, and we'll cherish seeing him in heaven one day.

    I wish your father the best in his recovery, I pray that he won't be in too much pain, and I pray the Lord would bless you with alot of strength through this time. *hugs* We're here for you as well, so please feel free to vent or ask for hugs anytime.
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sep 12, 2008

    :hugs: bio. My condolences and prayers to you and your family.
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 12, 2008

    Thank you very much. I was fine all day today... tonight I'm sorta feeling blah again. :(:hugs:
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 12, 2008

    BioAngel-I'm sorry to hear about "Grandpa's" passing. I will keep you and your sweetheart's family in my prayers. :hugs:
     
  12. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    Sep 13, 2008

    Zoom,

    I'm going through something similar myself. Last November, I found out that my mother was in stage 4 of lung cancer. She had surivived tongue cancer with the help of surgery and radiation, and the doctors thought she was doing so well. Then the "bomb" hit -- the cancer was back, only this time it was in her lungs and her lymph nodes. No surgery, radiation or chemo will help. They expected she had about 4 months to live.

    Here it is 10 months later, and my mother is still with us. She's a tiny (smaller than a size 4!) version of herself. She's physically weak and coughs for hours a day, but she's still emotionally so strong.

    The hardest part is watching the end come so very slowly -- watching her waste away physically. It is hard to watch someone who has always been "a rock" fade away....

    I try so hard not to think about it, but there are times when it consumes me. Remarkably, I have managed to pretty much block the thoughts out while I'm at school. School is my "safe haven." While I'm there, the kids are what I focus on. My mother has always been so incredibly proud of me for becoming a teacher (I switched to teaching later in life) and so being a teacher has always been a bit of a "tribute to my mom."

    I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. There are others who understand the pain you are going through right now. No matter how old we are, or how far away from "home" we've moved, there is always a part of us that so incredibly attached to our parents.

    You and your father are in my thoughts and prayers. If you ever need to talk, just pm me.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 13, 2008

    I'm so sorry about your dad. Almost 2 years ago (January 2007), my dad was suddenly rushed to the hospital with a massive infection. He was in hospital for 3 weeks until he passed away without regaining consciousness. I took 2 weeks off school (off a week, back a week, then off a week after he passed away). We are a close school family and everyone knew why I was away; my educational assistant asked my permission to tell my students what was going on and I gave it. Everyone ws wonderful--very supportive and sympathetic. You need to do what makes you comfortable, but, if you are up to it, work and the students can take your mind off things.
     
  14. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Sep 13, 2008

    You guys thank you so much for the prayers and for sharing your own stories. It does help to know that other folks are going through the same thing, to hear how you've coped, moved on, etc.

    So many of you shared heart-touching stories it's hard to know where to begin. SmallTown, you mentioned how proud your mom was that you became a teacher. My dad is the same way. He says he tells everyone he knows, and he wishes he could stick around longer to keep telling them! (my dad has a great sense of humor. I'm really going to miss that when he's gone.) Bio girl, I'm so sorry about your Grandpa. *hug* Thanks for sharing with me. UpsaDaisy, thanks for sharing the story about your husband. You're such a strong person - wow. It's unfortunate that we don't know how strong we are until tradgedy strikes. CutNGlue, it's nice to know I'm not the only person that's lost it at school. It can be so embarassing. But I guess everyone breaks down sometimes. RainStorm, *hug* thank you for sharing the story about your mother. That's so scary that cancer can come back. I had a double mastectomy last year and sometimes I worry that it will come back. Anyway, I'm glad that your mom has been with you this long. While it must be killing you to see her getting weaker, it's awesome that you have more time with her. It gives me hope that my dad will be with me longer. Thank you so much. *hug* MrsC, I totally agree with you. My kids do take my mind off things. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

    Thanks guys.
     
  15. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 13, 2008

    Thank you, Zoom. You will get through this and be a source of satisfaction for your father.

    Rain, I can understand completely what you mean. Cancer is a terrible disease, but death itself is part of life. Until it hits you very closely, it is easy to think that it is some distant thing, not related to today.
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 13, 2008

    Zoom, I'm sure your Daddy will keep an eye on you and all your wonderful achievements even once he leaves this place. I always believed that my Mom's Dad, who I was also very close to, watched over me and my sister as we grew up. He was very close to us and loved us greatly--- I'm sure he would have been proud to see us become two lovely Ladies. And I'm sure your Daddy will be thrilled to see what you become as well, no matter if he's living or in else where.

    Big hugs for you [​IMG]
     
  17. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Sep 13, 2008

    I have gone through this twice,once with my mother,then with my father.The best advice I can give you is enjoy each day you have with your father,many times the doctors underestimate the time remaining.Don't think about the future! Enjoy each day with your classes and try to be there for your father as much as you can. Don't hold it in,talk to other people who will support you, about your feelings.If you feel you need it,there are groups that deal with this situation.
    I'm really sorry to hear about your father.I only hope for the best. Take Care
     
  18. michelleann27

    michelleann27 Cohort

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    Sep 13, 2008

    I lost my mother three years ago. It is hard to work with the kids asking questions about why your eyes are red etc. My mom had her last cancer treatment and she had a bad heart and they said that the heart must not have been able to handle any more treatments. She said she was tired and wanted to sleep in for a change and when she was checked on at 10 the next morning she was gone. She was only 51. Too young. I am sorry for what you are going through and what you will be going through. I will keep you in my prayers. If you need to talk private message me. My mothers birthday is monday. :(
     
  19. jwilliamson

    jwilliamson Companion

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    Sep 13, 2008

    My father passed away last December. It was incredibly hard .... and on top of it, I was a new teacher (my first year). I had a great support system at school with lots of co-workers who really helped me out.

    I am definitely glad I had my job as a place to go to everyday with people to talk to. I don't think it would have been good if I had sat at home.
     
  20. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Sep 13, 2008

    I'm so sorry to hear about your devastating news. :(

    I lost my dad unexpectedly the last week of school this year, so being back has been the first time I've really had to deal with it while at school.

    The professional in me is just that -- I can focus solely on school and be just as patient and in control as ever with the kids. Maybe not so much other adults -- this week I went a little ballistic on some new coworkers who had messed something up after I had repeatedly made requests and followed up on them. Then I realized in retrospect I had PMS then, so that may have been part of it too.

    My point is that you get dressed, you plan your lessons, you take care of your students, you do your job. But if you need to blow up or cry when you're not with the kids, that's ok. People will be understanding. Your stress might be evident in whatever is lowest on your list of priorities -- maybe you won't cook or clean or work out as much as when you're not under duress -- but you probably have that instinct in you to keep focused while at work. If not, then that's a time to consider counseling or taking a little time off, even a leave of absence if need be. But most likely you'll find work to be a relief, since it's a time when you really can't focus on the stressful stuff.
     
  21. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Sep 13, 2008

    Oh my gosh I can't believe how many of you have lost your parents already. Wow... michelleann, that's so sad about your mom's bday coming up. *hug*
     
  22. scooter503

    scooter503 Comrade

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    Sep 13, 2008

    A year and a half ago, I was doing a semester long LTS job when my younger brother (age 22) had a sudden, very unexpected (and still unexplained) heart attack. My mom called to tell me five minutes before I left for work. I barely made it through the day...broke down in tears more than once...and my kids chose that day to turn from angels into devils. But my coworkers were fabulous. My brother is now ok, and engaged!!!

    Last December my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma. I was a wreck. I was subbing, so I chose to not work for two days. I knew I wouldn't be able to talk about it without breaking down. He was in the hospital for 5 weeks straight...even during Christmas. In July he had surgery to remove two suspicious lymph nodes and check a spot in his lung, and he has just been given a clean bill of health!!:) Prayers can be answered!!
    By the way, my dad has an amazing sense of humor too.
     
  23. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sep 14, 2008

    I'm so sorry to hear about that Zoom! And to hear about everyone's tragedies. I know myself what it's like...I only have 1 uncle left in my family. Everyone else is gone. If you need time off, take it. I know that after my other uncle died, I needed a few days off from my job at the time, because I was a wreck. He was like a father to me - I lost my father when I was 5. My aunt - who had adopted me, so I called her mom - died this summer. We were severely estranged, and there were many bad things she did to me over the years, so I still haven't grieved for her. Right now, I still get angry when I'm cleaning out her house and discovering even more horrid things that she did. But I know that when the anger's done, I'll grieve. Don't be afraid to do what you need to do - and don't forget to take some time for yourself- go to that special place you have, where you can relax, or do something that helps you to relax and find yourself, nourish your soul. It helps. Trust me.
     
  24. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Sep 20, 2008

    I had a similar situation last year, my first year in this district. At Thanksgiving my mom was diagnosed with cancer. They weren't sure what kind at the time, but it was devastating. They said with no treatment we'd have months, with treatment we might have years. My mom decided to have the surgery, but sadly the cancer was too far gone to remove more than half - turned out it was peritineal cancer (same type of invasive cancer as ovarian). She passed away on 1/9/08 just 69 years old. One month later her mother died at 95 years old.
    The school staff was very supportive, but the kids were amazing. They wanted to know why I was missing so much time soI was honest with them about what had happened in a very vague way. I did not share details other than that she was sick and needed surgery. I explained that she got sicker and passed away. They helped me in their own ways to get through the tough times ~ sometimes just by being their own ornery selves and making me mad (took my mind off of the sadness).

    You're in my thoughts and prayers!
     
  25. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 20, 2008

    I've mentioned to some of my students about why I was absent the day after I found out my fiance's grandpa had died. They were very sweet about it and even those who I've just said "Miss K had to take a personal day" seemed to know something was wrong. Certain students/sections I have no problem opening up to, others I'm cautious around.

    My heart goes out to those who have lost family members, it's very painful--- but I do hope you find support in this thread, Zoom. You aren't alone at least. *hugs*
     

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