This week has been undeniably difficult. I didn't want to write this post. At all. Mainly because writing it would make it all the more true and I'd actually have to deal with what's happened.
Yesterday our school was truly in a state of mourning.
On Wednesday we were told that one of my ex House Tutor Group students' father had passed away. He was an old boy of our school himself and well known in our community.
On Thursday morning we were told about our colleague Louise Jull who went missing the night before on the Kaituna River. At this stage no names had been released as the whanau were still to be contacted. Of course we had to maintain complete confidentiality - this also meaning keeping it from our students. Our students could tell something was wrong though and it didn't take long til rumours were started. At about 1pm her name was released, as was the information that she had been found.
Yesterday, our teacher only day was truly a blessing. We were able to grieve in our own Heights way with karakia and himene. No students and only ourselves to deal with. I'm so incredibly lucky that we have such a supportive whanau at Heights. All sticking together and dealing with these two losses of our whanau as best we could.
Going to my student's fathers tangi at Awahou Marae yesterday was heartbreaking. Seeing my student strong, stoic and supportive of his whanau. I'm glad I went but it brought back the memories of when I was 16 going through the same pain that he is feeling right now.
It just all feels so surreal. Yesterday I was walking around listless, still in shock. I still expect her to come into school on Monday and for everything to be okay. But it won't be. I'm glad that the students weren't there yesterday but I do not envy their return to school on Monday to grieve as a full school. Nor do I envy my colleagues and our need to be strong for the students and each other.
As we were told on Thursday, it's the second worst thing that can happen - a colleague passing, compared with a students passing. Just as bad I think.
All I can think about is the fact that we all grieve so differently. I still haven't completely let it out. I was still getting to know her. It just doesn't feel real. Looking at her blog yesterday felt good - to see the good times and amazing times, and the pictures of the amazing feats she accomplished every time she was on the water. To see her smiling face just does not feel right but it does too - because she was happy.
She unfortunately passed doing something she loved and for that tiny relief - I suppose it's something we can be happy for. But even so - it's not easy.
She had so much to live for still. So many dreams and hopes. All gone. She was so incredibly skilled, world renowned even.
I feel for one of my best mates at school and know that we all need to keep watch out for each other as this process contines to carry on.
Moe mai ra e hine. Moe mai.