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.
A little nook of Los Angeles is very special to me and my inner circle. On a single Westside street:
my sister and I lived for five years before I got married, with cherished walks and meals at nearby neighborhood cafes;
my husband proposed to me at a restaurant a few blocks down the same street, near another restaurant where we dated early on;
my sister and I for years went to our longtime doctor at the medical center around the corner…
.…where my sister just gave birth to her daughter this past weekend.
Now my husband and I live in San Diego, but we had to drive up to LA to meet our new niece, and have our daughters meet their new little cousin — in our old stomping ground, no less.
When we got there, a barrage of memories overflowed, seeing all the familiar places — where I wrote some of my favorite scripts, went out on memorable dates, shared heart to heart talks with family and friends — or as my dad would say, ‘scenes of former triumph.’
On this day there truly was a new birth, a new triumph. Seeing my sister and brother in law with my new niece was beyond precious — something we will never forget.
And never did I think, 15 years ago, that I would one day come back to the old ‘hood with my children and husband, telling the girls statements like this: