As it is ‘Dying To Know Day” which has been launched by The Groundswell Project today August 8th 2013, I decided to post this. Yes I could have talked about our experience with losing our children, but thought this more appropriate. Death, no matter what the set of circumstances is difficult. It is life-changing, the grief at times all consuming, but as time marches on we do learn to ‘live’ with it!
This post is about a fantastic Yr 6 teacher my daughter had during primary school in 2011.
Sadly he took his own life (he was in his late fifty’s) just prior to Christmas in that same year…
This extract is from a letter I sent to the principal just after a Memorial Service was conducted early the following year (2012) at the school.
“For those parents and students who did not know Harry and witness his magical talents as a teacher, and whose children he did not teach, we as a family have been absolutely privileged to know Harry, and to entrust him to educating our daughter Tayla from yr 5 – 6.
Under Harry’s guidance Tayla has grown into a mature, capable and confident student, she became SRC last year, as well as a Safety Ambassador, and was involved in many other activities throughout the school year, including the Anzac Day Youth Vigil, SAPSASA rugby/cross-country/Districts Athletics Sports Day to name a few.
Harry’s positive influence has seen Tayla transform from a quiet yet diligent student into one who now throws herself into many activities, without hesitation.
For those who don’t know me I have been a parent as this school for the past 7 years, both of my children have been students at WPS from reception to present day. I have been involved in class activities over the years, as well as a Parent Rep, helping with reading in the class, attending school excursions, and camps and recently attended the Edithburgh Camp for Harry’s yr 6 class as a parent volunteer, along with another parent.
Although I don’t think I had the opportunity to speak with Harry on a personal level, as he always seemed to keep on task with matters relating to education, I can honestly say I speak from experience, when I say without question, that after his daughter Kayla’s death I also knew what he was going through.
We lost our son Luke, after a short battle with cancer at just 2 years of age back in 1998, and Harry’s death as well as his daughter’s has had a profound impact in so many ways. It would be fantastic to see a day held in Harry’s honour, sometime in the near future as a mark of respect, where we can reflect and marvel in his talents as a teacher.
In closing I just wanted to quote a typed note that Harry gave out to his students with their end of year reports, which just happened to be typed on hot pink copy paper!”
“Howdee Everyone…Well Here It Is”!
“I need all of you to know that my time spent with your children has been one of, if not the most satisfying yet challenging, rewarding and memorable times that I have experienced. The calibre of your children, their response to requests, ability to adapt, perception and understanding of our intentions during lessons, and efforts to comply and develop are a credit to You. You have by and large given me your trust to run the class my way, instill a team approach, apply behaviour management as required and wrap each child in their own layer of thinking and humour. I am convinced by their regular positive attitudes and tangible written evidence that they are individually in the best shape possible for year seven.
To each and everyone of the previous Littlepudlians of 2010 and 2011 who are now the Giantpudlians of 2012 remember our Motto’s, use your fabulous writing and communication skills often, keep the humour going, enjoy each day and keep in touch”.
For more information on ‘Dying To Know Day’ go to http://thegroundswellproject.com/dying-to-know-day/ for a list of events around the country.