Hard Days and Strong Scaffolding

Today was unlike any other day I can remember. Yesterday my daughter came home from school with a note that a teacher at her school was dead. I had heard through the day about a crime scene investigation and a house fire, but I put it aside to get through my meeting at Albany Med with the chaplain for the Journey’s Team (pediatric palliative care team). I had to talk about how we are going to work together to be a resource for families when their child… becomes a part of this extra hard journey. I left my meeting feeling good about what we were going to do and how it will help. I had some ideas and thoughts and headed home to my girls and our valentine’s and 100 day projects.

There was a note in Lucy’s bag telling about the teacher and the events that had taken her life. I immediately thought about her, about this quiet teacher who would smile when she walked through the halls with her kids. I remember sitting and eating lunch next to her and she might talk to a teacher about how they can work together to support and teach that child better. I mostly remember her calm energy and the smile she always gave me when we made eye contact. I felt so sad for her older son and all the loss he was experiencing… all the milestones and life events that would be different from this moment on. In the blink of an eye, at least in life time, he lost his mom and dad and brother. So much loss…

I don’t know the details around the case, in fact, I feel that the details are not for our eyes and ears. I feel that the son that is here should have respect and love ONLY… not detailed articles and comments by people who don’t get it. He just needs love. He needs the world to remember his momma for the person she was to him and his brother as the little brother he is. I know that none of us know the struggle and the fight that went on in his father’s brain and heart and soul. We need to offer support not curiosity and proding and sharing far too much. He deserves just love. He deserves people and places that let him be him- and not make this travel with him. He has a long road ahead of him…

Today I worked with a new friend at the school that Lucy attends and this lovely lady taught at. I got to school and it was buzzing with parents for morning program and valentine’s parties. It felt pretty normal. I took my break and sat in the teacher’s break room… I read the literature and chatted with a friend and then a hospice counsellor. I asked my friend what the conversation looked like when you spoke to a child who was her student. I have wondered for a long time what the day Madeline died looked like for others. I wondered what the system looked like for the faculty and students. Today I saw it…

It was harder than I thought. I didn’t think it would hit like that to see grief counsellors and teachers somber… or maybe I did and I didn’t let myself think about it. I felt glad for the system and the structure that is in place for these days. The support that just pops in and starts working and carrying. It made me comforted to know that the day Madeline died probably looked a lot like today and yesterday… many adults taking care of children and helping them understand the fact in the way they can comprehend. Then coming into the break room and breaking… working to use the right words and help their students along with their own loss. I felt so heavy today… so heavy for her, for her son’s… I felt heavy for Madeline. I don’t normally feel that way at school… but I barely had the energy to get through the afternoon. I felt like a robot… yawning and trying to converse.

I love our Bradt family… it hurts that one member if gone. I don’t understand why or how or what if… but I do know that we aren’t really able to understand SOOOO much of this life. It is our job to move and live and breathe and carry… when the world hands us a heavy we allow others to carry us. My heart and brain hurt for her oldest son… a boy who should get to be carefree with friends but now has this pile of hard, super hard. So we carry him… we make that pile a little less work to live with. We can not take the hard away but we can make the rest easier… we can support him. We can make his life simpler so this weight isn’t mixed with a bunch more weight (food, college, grief, dances, sports… whatever he loves). He has lost a lot in only moments… be kind. Love him and love his family anyway. We don’t get to choose mad. He get neutral from us… neutral love and carrying…

Please send prayers. Send love and support. I am glad to know that systems are in place for kids and families immediately… but sad to know that his loss is so big and multiplied by circumstances, choices and media. Send love. Be love for him…


If you can support this boy who needs mountain movers… please do.





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