Below you can find another chapter from the book Thank you, mum. I hope it touches your heart.
(For the Swedish version, scroll down and then select Next post.)
"Sorry to bother you. I know this is a strange question, but are you Monica Englund's daughter?"
The woman asking the question was younger than me, maybe in her thirties. I was in the middle of selecting vegetables from the salad buffet at work. It sure was a strange question. We didn't know each other. You, Mum, had never worked in that part of Gothenburg, and you'd already been retired for many years. I did have my name and picture hanging in a tag around my neck, but it didn't say Englund, I'd changed it to Rosendahl when I got married.
"Yes, I am her daughter."
"I thought so, you look so much like her! She was my teacher; the best one I've ever had. Could you please tell her 'hi' from me? From Anna."
When I visited you the next time, I told you about the strange meeting. Since you'd taught hundreds of children, I didn't expect you to know whom the greeting was from. When I described her, you nodded, and said,
"Oh yes, that Anna. She loved math."
You remembered her. You remembered "your children."
There are teachers and then there are good teachers. Then there are teachers like you. Teachers, who do so much more than educate, who affect the lives of their students.
One of your first peculiar students was Ola. He didn't speak, he never had. He went to school, but he never spoke. You noticed him hanging around after the day was through. He stayed to look in through the window in the schoolyard, and watched you grading papers. You waved for him to come inside. You let him sit next to you. You let him help you.
"What do you think we should write here?"
You'd speak even though he didn't say anything. He didn't utter a word, but he was with you, in your loving presence. Finally, the boy, who never spoke, started speaking. He spoke to you.
You managed to pull off the same thing with a kid in the Netherlands. A kid who had trouble both reading and talking. Teachers, parents, and doctors wondered if there was anything the matter with him. He talked to you, he learned how to read with you.
You also worked with older kids. When some kids in our neighborhood were being chased by the police, you hid them in our garage. After that incident, they'd come back every now and then to spend time with you and Dad.
"Without you, I would have become a criminal, Monica."
You always saw the good in all kids and teenagers, you knew it was never too late.
We all receive gifts when we're born. Our own personalized gifts. It’s the people who open their gifts and share them with the world that we call gifted. Thanks for sharing your gift of teaching, Mum. Thanks for doing what I aim to do myself. You left the world better than you found it.
Please share this blogpost if you think it can help someone!
This was a chapter from the book Thank you, mum. A book for those who miss someone.
If you would like to give the book to someone you think can be soothed by it, or to yourself, you can find it on Amazon on any of the links below, or you can search for it on your Amazon of choice.
Amazon in the Netherlands (if the price of the paperback is higher than about 17 euros, check out another market)