The rose bushes along the public pathway are gone now - but not forgotten. And I still have the photo I took with my cell phone a few years ago.
Grief is a tricksy thing. We know that we grieve over the loss of loved ones, be they human or pet. To grieve over the loss of a living being that held meaning for you is accepted. Normal. Expected.
We we also grieve over other things, to a greater or lesser extent.
Expectations dashed. Events cancelled. Failures.
Some people deal with the failure of their bodies and how that failing body impacts their quality of life. What they can actually do. Or not.
There are many ways to grieve. And many things to grieve about.
Accepting that I cannot teach in person anymore. The long journeys, the time zone shifting, the stress of the travel - will I make it? Will my BAGS make it? Will I never again experience the glow in the eyes of students who 'get' it, AS they get it? Their elation at understanding. Their anticipation of continuing the journey. The sheer joy of learning. Improving and feeling competent instead of clumsy.
So I hesitated when I got home. I'd made the decision. But had I been hasty? Given another year of aging (and who knows what *other* health issue that may crop up in that 12 months) could I actually, effectively, go back to Olds?
So I waited. I waited to see if my body recovered from the journey. I looked up how covid was doing. I thought long and hard. And today I took a deep breath and notified the college that this year would be my last year. Which should give them ample time to find another teacher. If they even start working on it now.
But now it's official. Notice sent, and accepted. I'm done.
However I am not done with teaching entirely. I have been working on the classes for SOS and am just about ready to sit down with scratch pad and start making notes.
But a big chunk of me is sad. So I am giving myself space to grieve. To focus on my current students, both Olds and SOS. To reassure myself that I *can* still teach, even if it isn't in person. I am still knowledgeable. Still capable of crafting a lesson plan and working out filming details. I can still answer questions. Seems I can write technical issues fairly well.
So I grieve. But accept that it is time. And I'm not *quite* done. Yet. And I can still help students. Encourage them. Give them information. Resources.
Grieving is not a do it and you're done. It's a process. And it will take time for me to set my disappointment aside as I reduce my activity horizon once more. While I am 'able' for now, my ability to do the things I've done for 40 years is diminishing. And in the end? It's ok. And I will find the joy in this new way of teaching.
Because I'm not done yet. Quite.