Nancy was a music teacher at the school district I attended. She was always wearing a smile and her student’s loved “Mrs. T.” She was a very special friend.
I worked part time for the district as a custodian, in between radio jobs when I was in my 20’s. I would get a call each day from the secretary who told my what school I would be heading to each day and who I was filling in for. I remember being at one elementary school in particular for a long stretch of time. It was during this time that Nancy and I got to talk more.
I went into the music room to clean, and she was there working late. I don’t recall what she was working on, but I re-introduced myself (it had been some years, since I was a young boy). She remembered me, and my (now ex) wife and her family. We had some wonderful conversations about life and, of course, music.
I remember talking to her about how we used to put on musical plays when I was in elementary school. We did one on Thomas Edison (The Electric Sunshine Man), the year before they did Annie (Which scarred me for life), and I played the lead in The Runaway Snowman. She smiled as I recalled those memories. She loved working with students and she was glad to share many stories.
After I left the district and moved for a radio job, I lost touch with her. She reconnected with me on Facebook and we began to chat again. She was always interested in my life and supportive during some tough times. When Sam and I got married, she sent congratulations. When Ella was born, she made her a beautiful blanket/quilt. She was right there to congratulate us again when Andrew was born.
Over the past few months, I noticed she was a bit absent more than usual. It wasn’t until just recently I found out she had been in and out of the hospital. During that time, she was diagnosed with cancer and she came home to hospice in mid-May.
Her family set up a page for her on Caring Bridge, which allowed her friends and family to receive updates. You had to be approved to take part, so I reached out to one of her daughters. In talking with her, she asked for my address because Nancy had something for Andrew. I asked for her address in return, because I had misplaced it, so I could send a card.
On Sunday, I sealed up the card and was going to drop it in the mail Monday morning. When I awoke Monday, I saw that a new journal entry had posted. Her daughter posted that Nancy had passed away earlier that morning. I was heartbroken.
Just over an hour after I read of her passing, there was a knock at the door and a package was left. It was from Nancy. Inside was a gift for Andrew and gifts for Ella.
Nancy had made a blanket/quilt just like she had made for Ella, for Andrew.
Ella was excited to open up her gifts, too. Nancy had sent two pop-up books with shapes and colors. Ella loves books and immediately began to read them – while sitting on Andrew’s blanket!
I won’t lie, I was kind of overwhelmed with emotion. Nancy was gone, and yet, she still managed to shower my family with her kindness. Inside the package was a card:
Rest assured that there will be plenty of snuggles and smiles, Nancy. I hope you can here me expressing my gratitude to you for loving my family and for your friendship.
After the news began to spread of her passing, I was not surprised at all to see that she showed kindness to many others.
One post read: “Years ago, a wonderful woman looked at a beaten down young boy who she thought had amazing musical talent. She took that young boy under her wing and taught him the greatest joy in life – music. She also taught him all of the wonderful things music could do for him in his life. When in high school, she believed so much in this young man she helped pay for his vocal lessons so he could continue his talent and passion for music.”
Another wrote: “She was a wonderful, kind woman whose absence in our music department was felt the moment she retired a few years after I started teaching. Memory eternal, Nancy. Thank you for having such a profound impact on me.”
Yet another wrote: “You were inspiring in so many ways and will definitely be missed.. I’m glad you got to meet my kids and teach Emily music. We love you”
Another: “Mrs. T was a truly amazing teacher. Such devotion and compassion as hers is not seen enough in a lifetime. It was an absolute privilege to have you as a teacher, and for my children’s teacher. Thank you for your kindness and years of dedication. You will be missed.”
There were also posts from friends she had for decades! She obviously was a very special lady.
I began this blog with a picture that had a quote on it:
” There are some who bring a light so bright to the world that even after they have gone the light remains.”
Nancy “light” will definitely continue to shine for many years to come. Her influence and impact that she made on her students will live on through them. Her friends will forever have wonderful memories of her and the times they shared.
I will always look at those blankets and think of my wonderful friend.
Heaven’s choir obtained a wonderful voice this week.
Thank you, for being you, Nancy!