Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cursed Pigs

Early this year I met my daughter's Maths teacher at the normal grade 11 parent-teacher meeting (with my daughter). I remember the meeting fondly, as we chatted about family, comparing number of children and ages. Making it easier was the fact that all teachers at this school are referred to by their first names, which makes the meetings more personable. Then we went on and actually talked about Maths, which for me is friendly small-talk conversation much less awkward than family matters. What I remember the most was the colour of her eyes. They were so bright, and must have been green or hazel, but to me they looked bright yellow. Here was someone so full of life and energy and was enthusiastically going through a maths equation. This was many months ago, but last Monday, I got a call from my wife and through my daughter relayed the message that the teacher, 34yo, was in an induced coma due to complications of the AH1N1 flu virus and was in grave danger. Friday came the dreaded confirmation that she had passed away, and suddenly, with a rare death from the disease with absolutely no underlying initial risk factors; the pandemic has finally hit home to me. My daughter said it best as there is no point being angry at any one thing or person - that might be unfair - she is angry at the pigs who first harboured it and passed it on to humans.
Even though there is incredible differences with how different individuals react to the disease, eternal vigilance and accurate updated knowledge of everything about the virus is important to even the most healthy of us.


Chris Fellows said...

Townsville is a small place. Here is part of a message from my Mum this weekend. I haven't written back yet but have been thinking about it all week. I can't remember if you came to our engagement party but your daughter's future maths teacher was there.

"How easily we get caught up in our lives, our worries, our needs, our wants and we forget about what is really important. This past week saw the passing of another cherished member of our church community. She arrived with her family when she was in grade 10 and quickly became a friend of our son Joseph. She became a member of our music group and played her flute for Mass and her sister played the violin. She would meet weekly with us as we planned each Sunday's liturgy and became an astute and creative voice in our meetings. When she graduated from high school, she went on to James Cook University and earned her teaching degree, returned to the same school she graduated from and took up a position teaching Maths and Science. Her radiant smile and bubbly personality made her a popular teacher and friend. She leaves behind two beautiful daughters, a husband, mother, father, two sisters and a brother as well as a community who loved her. RIP Sheridan, we will miss you, but we have our memories to keep you alive in our hearts. We are creatures, we do not live forever. Some lives are longer than others, but they all do come to an end. What do we leave behind? That depends on us. Where we place our time and energy is our legacy. What will those left behind remember about us? Will they remember our voices when we spoke, or our silence when we should have? Will they remember our embraces, or the times we turned away? Will they remember us and think, "I am glad that you were a part of my life," or will they think, "I needed you to be a part of my life, but somehow you never were?" We need to cherish the relationships we are strings attached...they are the memories we will cling to."

Marco said...

I will never forget her, and she will remain young and bright in my memories. This, from a brief 20 minute encounter.