So tomorrow I return to school for seemingly the millionth time after an illness. I really need to increase my immune system. My doctor says it is normal for the first year of a child's daycare for the whole family to suffer like this, but it's borderline ridiculous. I'm hopeful that now after softball and after DeathWatch 2014 #NORO things will slow down and I can resume my normal routine of teaching, daddying, husbanding, and blogging. At least until school is out which is in less than a month. In which case it will be daddying, husbanding, blogging, and thinking about teaching.
The Love of My Life by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed is the author of the hit memoir, Wild, which is being turned into a movie starring America's sweetheart, Reese Witherspoon. I loved Wild. My wife loved Wild. People everywhere loved Wild. Heaping praise on a popular book seems redundant but I can't help it with Wild. It really is fantastic. But I'm mostly glad I read it because it made me search for other things Strayed had written. I believe Strayed is at her best when she is writing shorter pieces like this 2002 essay (which is actually kind of in Wild in some form).
Essay: 10 of 10
The opening line, "The first time I cheated on my husband, my mother had been dead exactly one week," ranks up there with the best first lines I've ever read. The essay isn't so much about the cheating but about the loss of Strayed's mom. It is universal. Just about everyone who has a mom will have her die. My mom died multiple times. The first time she died was when she was 40 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Then each time she lost something she died again. When she forgot who I was, she died again. When she forgot who my dad, her husband, was, she died again. When she lost the ability to speak, she died again. When she lost the ability to walk, she died again. Then after losing all of that, she stayed "alive" for seven more years in a fetal position in bed. She had to be fed, have her diapers changed, rotated so she wouldn't get bed sores. She existed as a shell for seven years. Finally, at 58 she quit breathing and died "for real" in a Hospice center. I got the call at school that it was time and I hurried there but I missed her last breath by two minutes. I sat in the room with her and my dad and it was honestly no different than it was for the past seven years. Just quieter. That may sound callous but it's fact. Reading Strayed's essay brought my mom's death back to me. Not the act of not breathing any more but the whole process of losing her piece by piece until there was just nothing left. I'll write about this in detail someday. Or I won't. I sure as Hell won't write it as beautifully as Cheryl Strayed writes about losing her mom.
Teachability: not sure
The opening scene is pretty sexual so I'd be nervous. The rest of it could elicit some amazing response though from older students. My older kids seem to really enjoy personal narrative and I have never shared this with them before. Maybe this is one of those "I want them to read it but I don't want it to be in class so I don't get in trouble" things.