work 6I have only been back a few times for a visit. Each time was hard.

Next Monday the teacher who will be taking my position during my leave of absence will need a desk, my desk.

I’ve been putting it off all summer. I bought bins and cleared a space in the basement for all my teaching gear but I have been reluctant to actually go and clear out my space.

I know the decision to take the year off is a good one. I know that building playground will be a lot of work and I will need all the extra time I can get focusing on this journey. I also know that I can’t teach right now and in knowing that I have tremendous peace that taking this time is right.

Still, I’ve been reluctant to clear out my space.

With 2 days left, today was the day.

Not much had changed since October 17th, my last day of work before my girls went to Heaven. I opened a file on my desk that was labeled “Daisy” and while glancing over the papers inside, I remembered that Anna was working on learning the oath for her Daisy Troop.

On my bulletin board there are pictures of the people I love, individual shots and groups shots with different combinations. I used to sit and smile, feeling so blessed by my blended family.

Above the pictures there are pieces of artwork from my favorite artist, Anna. I even have one from when she wrote her name NNAA. I smiled as I took it down and put it in the box remembering the small amount of stress I had that she would never write it the correct way.

Sitting on my desk is one of my favorite photos of Anna. She was 2 with her hair in pigtails. Everyday I would look at that photo and wonder where the time was going. It seemed like just yesterday we were standing in that lavender field trying to get the perfect shot.

I’m so glad we did.

In the drawer I found some pictures that I forgot I had. They took me back to a time when I was just meeting Tom and Abigail was in third grade. She loved to come visit during the day when I was in my office, both of us feeling special that we had these encounters, blessed to be in each other’s life.

I miss that time.

If Abigail was asked what her favorite school was she would say her grade school. The building is new since her time there and a lot of her teachers are retired or have moved on but, as I was packing up my stuff, I couldn’t help but feel her presence with me helping me get through this transition.

As I drove away I decided to leave something behind in honor of Abigail and her years of being a Jaguar. I’m sure one day someone will see it and when they do I’m sure they will smile and think of my girls.

work 4



11 thoughts on “Jaguars

  1. Susan,
    When I heard you were taking a leave of absence, I knew it was the right thing to do for you, but I was also so sad.

    After Anna and Abby went up to heaven your space seemed to stand still in time. I would often times sit at your desk and look at all of your pictures and art work on the wall, while letting my tears fall. I loved hearing your phone ring everyday at 2:45, because I knew Abby was home and would usually asked for a milk shake. Wednesdays, Tom would get the girls ready for school, you would wonder if they were actually ready and Anna would usually call. Everyday I would walk by your space and see your girls. Their presence and yours was and will always be in our office.

    I will miss you so much Susan. APE is not the same without you. We will definitely have to have some motor team meetings at your house 🙂

    Love you


  2. You will always be a part of our motor team Susan! When I first joined the motor team you were on maternity leave with little Miss Anna. You made a point to come and welcome me with baby Anna snuggled into your green wrap-around and immediately put me at ease about this transition in my life. I was so inspired by you then and my admiration has only grown in the years I’ve been blessed to know you and your girls. Abigail’s Jaguar years were especially precious to me…having her pop into our office for an item she may have forgotten or a quick hello or a hug from her Susan. And being able to swap stories about our girls who were so close in age. One of those years was also the time when I got to spend my Friday afternoons with little Miss Anna. She was such a bright spot in our week and a chance for my boys to experience “little girl” fun with tea parties and visits to fairyland.

    I’m a little sad to know your space is cleared out from our office, but know that your space in our hearts will always be there and filled with love and joy for you whenever you want to visit!


    1. I love you Melissa! Maybe we can have monthly meetings at my house this year…you all can get district internet from there ; ) I’ll make you all breakfast and you can meet. Love you friend!!!


  3. Susan – I want you to know that I read your posts everyday even though I have not posted any comments. Following your journey through grief has been heartbreaking, inspiring and humbling. Thank you for sharing your profoundly personal journey with us. My appreciation for all that I have has been magnified a hundred times. I will never take these gifts for granted. Just know that I will continue to read as long as you are posting. I pray for your peace. Love, Joy


  4. When Abigail was a Jaguar, I worked in her 4th grade class. She was so helpful with my student that her teacher, Mr.Jones would joke that she deserved half of my paycheck. While he was joking we both knew that was true. My student would stress out to finish assignments or remember exactly what they were and while Abby would be done with hers and moved on to free drawing she would remind him, “We’re doing this remember? Here let me help you. ” I would crack a joke and tell her how amazing she was. She was the perfect Jaguar. I was always so proud of her and since my son will never know I wrote this, I always thought about how much alike they were!! Susan you know which son of mine I speak of. 🙂 I feel so blessed as we walk through this that I not only call those girls mama my friend, but that I knew Abby. She was what we strive for in a Joseph Gale Jaguar. I’m proud to have witnessed that and it’s a year I’ll never forget.


  5. I remember her face lighting up when you would stop by to tell her to meet you somewhere after school . This must have been a difficult day but hold on to those memories of days at Joe Gale. And the special relationship you both had during that time. We all do 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: