Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Sometimes life just doesn't quite go as expected.

That's where I have been this week.

Early Monday morning my phone dinged. A text message. I'm not that much of a phone person, and I don't get that many texts, so I was kind of surprised.

It was one of the second grade teachers from my school. She is vacationing in Canada and had gotten a phone call from one of our parents. M had called to say that her husband,  Fabian, a stay-at-home 33-year-old dad had passed away after complications from surgery.

Fabian had four daughters- a kindergartener, a third grader, a seventh grader, and an eighth graders. The three youngest girls are students at our school. I've worked with two of them in my reading intervention groups. I had just met with Fabian last week to make plans for summer reading. He was a really active dad- someone who goes on all the field trips, supports teachers, and is super proud of his four girls.

Since Ang was out of the country, she wondered if I could help. Ordinarily that would probably be a job for a principal, but we have an interim principal, who technically doesn't really start until July, and is currently out of state on vacation. I had spent part of last week with our AP, and knew that she is attending a funeral in California this week.

"Of course," I said, not quite sure what handling a situation like that might mean.

I waited a couple of hours until it seemed late enough to call, then called M. She seemed like she wanted to talk. She told me that Fabian had liver surgery last week. And was doing better. And they sent him home. But Thursday night he was feeling really badly so they want back to the emergency room. They checked him over and gave him the choice of staying the night or going home. He wanted to go home, but had to be rushed back to the hospital by ambulance later that night. He died the next morning in surgery.

I asked  how we could help. She said the family needed money to pay for the funeral. And groceries and living expenses for while she was not working.

I wasn't sure how to start a collection.  Go Fund Me? A special bank account? My school has a Facebook page, but I wasn't sure we could post financial stuff there without special permission. I emailed our instructional superintendent. She emailed the financial advisor for our network. He emailed me and said it would have to be set up through PTA, not a teacher at the school.

I called the PTA moms. They would be glad to help, but wanted a picture of the family for the Go Fund Me page. I texted M again and she sent pictures of Fabian with his girls. The pictures made me cry. Again, I was struck by just how much Fabian loved his family.

And then there was the letting people know part. I sent an email to teachers at my school. I wasn't exactly sure how many people actually check their email, especially since we had just gotten out of school, so I also sent texts to as many people as I could.

My colleagues' responses made me cry again. Lots of people are out of town, but almost a third of our staff have said they will come. The girls will know they are loved.

I've been checking the Go Fund Me page all day. We have collected over $1500. Not lots and lots, but at least something to help.

Hopefully, four little girls and their mom will feel loved on Thursday.


Molly said...

I think that mom and 4 girls already feel loved - by you.

Terje said...

Heart breaking news. Tough on everyone but most of all on the kids. The reaction and contribution of the school community speaks of a very caring culture.

Mary Ann Reilly said...

Your kindness and action at this incredibly difficult time for M is so telling--so essential--so necessary. I am sorry for the loss. A life taken is never easy, never small. Sending prayers.

Diane Anderson said...

Prayers for this family and the school family. A difficult loss to bear. The love being expressed will help.

elsie said...

You and your school have caring hearts.

Ramona said...

Oh, Carol, such a difficult phone call to receive. I'm glad you've been there for this family. Prayers for this mom and her daughters.

Mary Lee said...

Heartbreaking. But you were the perfect person to step in and handle this. Your heart is so big, you are so kind...all who know you are blessed every day, not just in times of tragedy.

Lisa Keeler said...

Oh no- this is a hard and sad week. Thank goodness you, someone who knew the family, were there to help during this difficult time. Take care of yourself.