As I explained before, I have somehow landed myself on the PTA board at your brother and sister's school. I used to work at a Junior High School, so in some ways this all feels like second nature to me. I love being in the school system, and am hopeful that next year I can find a job in one of our local schools again.
When I went to interview for the position at the Junior High, I was introduced to the Assistant Principal, Janet. I hit it off with her immediately (possibly because she knew your Grandma, but that's beside the point). My job was to mentor students who were struggling, but I was also an "assistant" to her in many ways. I learned many MANY things from her, and she became MY mentor and a very dear friend of mine. She was one of those people who has certainly helped to shape my life in many ways. Janet was AMAZING at writing grants, and finding people to donate money, so when I am raising money in your memory, I often think to myself "what would Janet do?".
I worked for Janet for about five years, and just before your big brother was born, I noticed a bit of a change in her. She started struggling with different aspects of her own life, and she just didn't seem like herself. At the time, all of these changes were subtle, but now looking back they are just pieces of the big picture. A couple of years later, she transferred to a different school and I didn't see much of her for awhile. I ran into her a few months later and was surprised at how "different" she was toward me. She acted as though we were just passing strangers, and I was absolutely crushed. I felt as though we had a special relationship....one that would never change especially after not seeing each other for only a couple of months. I remember crying and crying over it because my heart was simply broken.
A few months later she was diagnosed with Dementia.
Suddenly everything seemed so much clearer to me, and I no longer felt heartbroken over the way she had treated me, but instead began to mourn the loss of my friend. She deteriorated quickly, but her influence still continued to shape me for years to come...in fact she continues to do so even through everything we went through with you. I frequently recall certain things she would say to me when things were tough.
When I first joined the PTA at the beginning of the Summer, I was asked if I would be interested in applying for a Healthy Lifestyles Grant for our school. I thought about Janet and how much I had learned from her, and decided that it would be an awesome way to honor her. When I finished writing it, and turned it in...I thought there was no way we would get it.
But we did. It is only for $1000, but still...we got it!
And I know....I KNOW that it's all because of the things that this woman taught me, and I also KNOW that when I received an email from the people awarding the grant that stated that they wanted to bring a "big check" to present to us that this was also all part of Janet's sense of humor. Oh she was a funny one, that lady!
I was devastated when she left us to go to Heaven shortly after you did last year, but in my mind I knew that she had really been gone for a long time. At least now she can begin to teach you the things that she taught me, and I hope that you listen to her baby boy because she is one of a kind!
I love you Janet....thank you for your friendship. Take care of my sweet boy.