This piece appeared on my blog one year ago. I repost it today in honor of beloved teacher and friend, Debbie Kelly, on the one-year anniversary of her passing on Aug. 9, 2015.
Our daughters’ brave and beautiful kindergarten teacher, Debbie Kelly, passed away tonight after several months of tremendous suffering from her second occurrence of cancer. Both cancer fights came during the years our daughters had her, and although she had to go on medical leave both years, Debbie bonded strongly with our girls in a short time and nourished them with great care and a foundation of learning and love we will always cherish. We are so grateful we had the chance to tell her how much she meant to us, in our final conversations and communications.
Debbie had the same kind of impact on the countless students blessed to have had her as a teacher. The hundreds and hundreds of notes, letters, drawings, gifts, and poems written to her, delivered to her, and read to her during her final days are priceless, and I can only hope and pray they bring her courageous husband and two young children comfort in the months and years to come.
As parents it will be heartbreaking for us to share the news with our daughters tomorrow and comfort them in the weeks and months to come, especially on that first day back at school later this month. But we pray that God’s strength and love — and the care they deeply felt from their beloved teacher — will guide them through.
Debbie’s birthday was just a couple months ago, and I wanted to share the letter I wrote her on that special day, one of many she received…
Every day we have is such a precious gift. Hug your loved ones a little tighter today.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being such a kind, compassionate, knowledgeable and inspiring teacher to Ani in 2010-2011 and Mari in 2014-2015.
We are so grateful to you for being such a shining example to them, and for all the ways you have brought out the best in them…
Helping a shy Ani through the beginning of Kindergarten…
And having her blossom by the end of the year – and ever since, thanks to your foundation.
And helping shy Mari emerge wonderfully in her first year too.
Coming to our house for bedtime stories…
Mari having Frozen theater camp with Charlotte last summer at SPAA…and fun playtimes.
Getting your email while we were out of town that Mari was going to have you for a teacher…and being so thrilled:
And so much more – strong guidance on both girls’ extended days…encouragement at every turn, week after week.
Always going out of your way to be so caring and sensitive to our kids — and everyone’s kids.
Such a loving presence…On your birthday and always, please know that We Treasure You.
There are not enough words, but please know that we are so grateful for YOU — and your kindness, your comfort, your fun, your guidance, your strength and inspiration.
Love, love and more love, always…
Lisa, Steve, Ani and Mari