Friday, June 25, 2010
The above picture is of Ashley & Chelsea on their graduation day two years ago. Pictured with them is their Kindergarten teacher, Caroline Peterson.
Today is Caroline's funeral. She went to Heaven after a long courageous battle with bone cancer. Throughout all the chemo and pain, she continued to smile and be one of the most positive people you could ever meet. She even continued to teach through this past school year.
I have always been so impressed with Caroline and her character, heart, and spirit, and I want to share a couple of reasons why and to give you insight into this special lady.
1. In Kindergarten, Ashley & Chelsea were in the same class. From the second day of school on, Mrs. Peterson was able to tell them apart and never once mixed them up. When I asked how she was able to do that she said that on the first day of school she pulled my girls aside during quiet time and talked to them. She said she studied their faces, voices, and expressions. "They really are different individuals who happen to look alike, and once you take the time to really look at that way, it's pretty easy to tell them apart." I so appreciated her doing that, when other teachers still couldn't tell them apart, all the way up through school.
2. When Ashley & Chelsea were in the NICU for their first two months, the nurses told me to sing lullabies to them. I was embarrassed to tell them that I didn't know any, so I sang "You Are My Sunshine" to them every day for 60 days and beyond. For the Mothers day tea during their Kindergarten year, the kids sang that song to the moms. I of course had tears running down my face, and when Mrs. Peterson asked me later why it affected me so much, I explained. A few days later the girls came home from school they said I had a present from their teacher. I opened it to find a picture of Ashley & Chelsea in a bright yellow frame with the words "You Are My Sunshine" on it. She included a note that said "When I saw this I thought of you."
3. Ashley & Chelsea had their tonsils and adenoids out towards the end of Kindergarten. When we arrived at the hospital that morning there were two soft squishy teddy bears in the room and a note was attached that said "Sometimes when you're scared, the best thing you can do is to get a teddy bear hug". Mrs. Peterson had come to the hospital and dropped those off the day before so they'd be there when the girls arrived. How many teachers would do that? Only the special ones.
When she developed cancer we returned the love by sending her a teddy bear with the same note, plus other notes the girls and I added. She said it made her cry to know someone did that and she couldn't believe we remembered that from so long ago. I told her that she was unforgettable in so many ways.
Caroline made it into 2 remissions, but sadly when it returned this last time it was very aggressive. We heard at her visitation last night that on one of her last days at school she told the children in her class to not cry for her. She said she wasn't scared because she knew she was going to a special place someday soon and she would get to see people she hadn't seen in a long time.
Heaven has been blessed with this newest angel. And she will be forever missed by those of us left behind.