This week Nora Ephron died at the young age of 71. She was a witty, insightful writer that always made me laugh. As I was finishing up reading the last book of hers and regretting that I won’t be able to read anymore of her books, I got a phone message about the passing of a great friend. A colleague at Tomahawk, Roberta, passed away suddenly this week.
Roberta found out earlier this week that she had a brain tumor. She was at school this week making arrangements for a substitute to start off the year because she would be recovering from brain surgery. She had a seizure and passed away Thursday evening. She left behind her husband of thirty-eight years, two daughters, and three grandchildren and many friends and colleagues.
Roberta was a wonderful lady and teacher. She always arrived early, did her job, and left late. Roberta was a “let’s git her done” kind of gal. She was always ready to do the work that needed to be done and did it without whining. She was never grumpy. She was never unkind. And the students of Tomahawk were always at the forefront with here. She always kept in mind, “Is this the best for our students?” Roberta was loved and she will be greatly missed by many.
The question in everyone’s mind is why? I can’t answer that question and it is not my job to do so. All I can do is think about what I learned from these two fantastic women. I have one of those embroidered pillows that a dear friend gave to me that says, “Live, Love, Laugh”. As I contemplate the saying on that pillow, I realize this is what I have learned.
Don’t wait until tomorrow what you could have and should have done today. If you have the means and the ability to do it, do it! I don’t want one to take out a loan, and put oneself into debt for a trip around the world, but if you have been thinking about doing something and are putting it off, don’t. As Roberta would say, “Let’s just get it done.” Don’t let “woulda, shoulda, coulda” be your mantra.
When growing up my family was never demonstrative about our love, although it was there, we just never said it. Then my brother and father died unexpectedly within six months of each other and I regretted never telling them how much I loved them. I have a friend that has two sons that were big, popular, high school football stars and I was always amazed that when they left the house they would kiss and hug both their mother and their father goodbye and say, “I love you.” I was always surprised with that showing of affection. When people die too soon it makes one think about not putting off saying what one needs to say to someone.
I spend a lot of time raising money for a program, Accelerated Reader, at our school. Last year, Roberta helped out by selling pop after school from her classroom. Every once in awhile she would stop by my office and hand me some money for the AR account and say it was from pop sales. I would ask if she took out her costs from the money and she would just smile and say, “Nah, that is my donation to the program.” Recently, I found a couple of foundations to pay for the program for two years and one of the people I wanted to call and tell about it was Roberta. I didn’t have her phone number and I didn’t take the time to find it. And I never shared that information with Roberta. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Don’t wait to tell someone something. Make that call today.
Use the words I love you more often. Janet’s daughter Bree and I kind of play a goodbye game every time she leaves. When she leaves she always says,
“Goodbye, I love you.”
“Yea, okay,” I respond.
“Goodbye, I love you,” she repeats.
“Be safe, be careful, don’t drive and text,” I reply never saying I love you and she gets frustrated. I love you Bree! Tell someone you love I love you, tell everyone you love I love you. Don’t wait until it is too late.
Nora Ephron always made me laugh. I loved reading her books, watching her movies and watching her interviews. Roberta was always smiling and laughing. I never had a conversation with her that I didn’t end up smiling or laughing. Laughter is the best medicine. Laugh and then laugh some more.
On my live, love, laugh pillow I have wanted to add, “and stop your whining!” I. Am. A. Big. Whiner. Not about work but about life. Roberta wasn’t a whiner; she was a doer. And she was a doer with a smile. Even when Roberta found out about her tumor she was planning for the next school year and thinking about her colleagues and students before herself. If the reader doesn’t like where one is or what one is doing, find somewhere one wants to be and get there or find something one wants to do and do it.
Live, love, laugh and stop whining. This week two astonishing women left this world too soon; one that was known around the world and one that was known among a small community, but just as great. They will be missed and remembered.
I love you, Roberta, thanks for all that you taught me.
Deep sadness. You might not remember what they said but you will always remember how they made you feel.
The Flip Side
I bet both would have happily gone lizard hunting with me.
I should have asked.
We could have had a great time.