Skip to main content

Piece #8 - Tragedy and 2009 [Part 2]

Other tragedies that I can remember vividly, were in 1986 I was in high school, I just happen to walk by our little student store and they had the radio on. I asked what's goin' on and they told me..."just listen." It was a news report that the space shuttle Challenger had just exploded and I remember the radio announcers stating that "there were no signs of Soviet missiles in the area. We don't see any missile trails." I thought that was rather odd, but true. It was a shaky time with us and the former Soviets of Russia. The other was 9-11. I was teaching and a fellow teacher called me over with my class, so we went into her room to find all the students sitting down, watching the TV as the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. I couldn't believe it. At the time of course, some of the students didn't understand the significance of the moment in history, but they do today!

This leads me up to 2009. I've been in the education business long enough to know when something is seriously up with a district. I had enjoyed four great years being at the school called Wendell Phillips. I knew that job cuts were coming, but since I had taught with the district for nine years at the time; I thought I had a really good shot at staying...I mean really, I was tenured for crying out loud! Little did I realize how squirrelly the Missouri law can be in education. I remember there being a lot of squabbling between the union and the district over the summer about teacher layoffs. On August 1st, (Yes, August 1st!!! About 3 weeks before school started!) I received a letter from our superintendent telling me that I was one of lucky ones to be cut (Laid off) from the district. So trying to find another teaching job at that point was almost impossible, since all I was certified at the time was Drama/Speech. However, the great irony in all of this was that...the layoff was a blessing, because something much worse was about to happen and I was needed at home for my family.

Because I was free to do whatever I wanted, I was able to be with my father and mother-in-law when Nancy (mother-in-law) was going to have a biopsy done with a growth on her liver. She hadn't been feeling very well and we all thought that maybe her problem was with her gall bladder. After the biopsy, it had taken quite a while for the results to come back...but, instead of delivering the information over the phone, they wanted her to come in to the office. (Never a good sign.) So on November 2nd, two days before Nancy was to turn 65 years, Nancy, Jerry, Emily and my wife got the results...Cancer; worst of all, pancreatic cancer. I'll never forget the day because Jaimee and her sister Emily had come home crying hysterically, in many ways, it down right terrified me seeing Jaimee cry like that. Having the Asperger's that I do, my brain was spinning through all kinds of thoughts and trying to grasp what can I do to help my family, but especially my grieving wife. The other thing that made this rough was that not only was Nancy's birthday on the 4th of November, but my birthday is on the 6th and on that year...I was turning the big 4 - 0. So over the course of a very grueling month of chemotherapy and other cancer prevention, none of them seemed to have any effect. On December 4th, about little after 3:00 in the morning, my mother-in-law went to be with the Lord. This was incredibly difficult on so many levels because through all the tragedy, I knew I had to somehow maintain some kind of order in the house. That proved to be very difficult. When we had her funeral, I wanted so much to cry for her, but yet I still couldn't do it; maybe it was because I knew deep down that I was going to see her again when I die. I will say though, it was good to see my twin daughters crying for her because I knew it would help them in the grieving process. (Remember, they have Asperger's as well.) Of course, you can image that Christmas was very hard on the family, but I knew I had to make it as normal as possible with the tree and gifts because Jaimee really wasn't feeling the spirit that year...which I completely understood.

Though it's been about a couple of years now since her death, it has still greatly affected several family members all around. Many of them are dealing with it in their own way, but I believe several of them need extra assistance. It really has rocked Jaimee's side of the family to its core.



The Song of Inspiration [Check it out on iTunes!]:

Song: “Praise You In This Storm”

Artist: Casting Crowns

Album: Lifesong


Here's a live performance of the selected song:










This is my mother-in-law, Nancy Jo Riggs. May the Lord Bless her always!

Popular posts from this blog

Lost Piece #1 - The Gospel Truth

"I know my Jesus, I love Him, and I think if he needed me to believe that homosexuality was a sin, He would have mentioned it. He didn’t. When Jesus said that marriage was between a man and a woman, he was responding to a question about divorce, not sexuality.* And even the Gospels... well, even though they are gospel to me, I accept that they are also interpretations of what Jesus said and did and meant -we don’t have a single written word directly from Jesus. He could have left us something - he could have left another list of rights and wrongs when He came to Earth, but he chose not to." Glennon Doyle Melton - Aug 25, 2013
These words were penned by Ms. Glennon Doyle Melton who is an author and Christian blogger. Back in February of 2017 she announced that she was engaged to Abby Wambach a former Women's Soccer Champion. Glennon had been married to her husband (Craig Melton) for over 14 years before she divorced him due to his extramarital affairs.  Glennon had also o…

Piece #72 - Brant Hansen, the radio voice for Asperger's

This might seem a little unusual for my blog to be talking about a certain person, especially one that I've never met in person, but he still has a special place for me because of how much we have in common...mostly because we both have Asperger's. Brant Hansen is or as of Monday July 7th, 2014 was a DJ for a national syndicated Christian radio station called Air 1. He and I have exchanged messages through Facebook from time to time in pleasant conversations, but we have come to a point that is a little more serious. Brant has never shied away from his disability and if anything he has been a positive voice to anyone who would listen about his Asperger's. As I mentioned though, Air 1 is ready to shut him down. Here is what Brant had to say about his departure from the radio station:

"If you've been a listener to our radio show, please know this: I’m heartbroken over the end of the show. I've counted every day as an honor to be able to have a platform like that.…

Piece #108 - Unemployment

I had the experience of something I hadn't been a part of in nearly twenty years... unemployment. I learned something rather quickly about being unemployed is that this is more of a journey than a simple trip. Trying to make the move from the world of education to the vast universe of basically...everybody else can be rather frustrating and confusing. One of the first things I had to learn was the new jargon, for example: Lead - the person just above the regular worker but, just under the supervisor. In teaching, there is no such thing; I guess the best version I can come up with is either a coordinator or a vice-principal. Production performance - the means of how well of an output one creates within a certain time and/or quality ("quota" is another term used). In education, test scores sadly are used as a barometer for how well a teacher is performing but, there are checks and balances on how well the information is being delivered and received by the students. I reall…