I'm usually pretty 'strong' (at least on the outside) and can hold things together okay, but I should've packed my man hankies because the tears wouldn't stop at the assembly when two of the prefects mentioned Aaron in their speech. They said something like Mr King wasn't just a teacher, but he was their mentor and friend. Two of Aaron's colleagues and friends also mentioned him in their speech and said that he would most likely have a Pepsi Max in his hand as he would be toasting them for finishing high school, and would tell them to 'not count the days, but to make them count'.
I had planned to get lots of jobs done in town after the assembly was over, but I couldn't stop crying as I was driving out of the school, so I decided to go and sit at the cemetery with Kobe instead. We decided to decorate Aaron and Noah's graves with Christmas things as we hadn't had a chance to do it yet. I had to laugh when Kobe starts singing the lyrics to 'Something I Need' by One Republic and sang 'if I only die once, I want to die with you'. Thank goodness for Kobe who makes me laugh every day. He had no idea what he was singing, but was just singing it because he likes the song.
Today was the last day of school for students and it was Jalen's last day in Grade 8, Harri's last day in Grade 3 and Kobe's last day of Kinder. They've all had a great year, and have had wonderful teachers and I'm so proud of all of them for how well they've done, especially considering what they've been through.
They were very excited this morning to know it was their last day of school, and that they are about to start five weeks of summer holidays. This year Kobe has gone to school three full days, and next year he will go full time. I will miss him so much as we always have lovely days together when he's not at school. He entertains himself so well, but is also great company. Yesterday I said to him 'what am I going to do when you are at school every day!? I'm going to miss having days at home with you!' and he said 'you'll see me on Saturday and Sunday Mum!'.
The boys were excited for the school year to be over, but I am very sad as my contact as a temporary teacher finished today.
It has been such a blessing to have a job that I love, and to be able to work at the same school as the boys. It has literally kept me going this past six months and helped me when I was feeling the lowest that I have in the past two years. It has given me another reason to get out of bed each day, and something to focus on as I have loved the challenge of teaching again. I knew it would be hard going back to teaching after having fourteen years off, but I was surprised as to how quickly it felt natural again. I have loved the kids that I have worked with and have loved being able to do different things in my job, like taking older grades which I have never done before, and teaching some basic Japanese again (which I learnt in college...all those years ago!).
Being a temporary teacher is so hard as it means you can't be offered a contract unless all the permanent teachers have been placed first. It's a big waiting game and you sometimes don't know if you have a job until the beginning of the school year. I am trying to not stress, but it's hard not to when I don't have Aaron's income coming in, as I don't have the choice about whether or not I want to work anymore. I need to work to pay the bills and that's one of the hardest things about being a widow. It's not enough to just be grieving for Aaron and Noah, but I have to think about so many other things like how I'm going to make ends meet.
I'm hoping that things fall into place and something comes up for next year, but worst case scenario is that I will do relief teaching which is good money as long as you get enough work. I've told some of the teachers at school that they all have to get pregnant or have lots of sick days next year : )
I have been talking to the boys a lot about it as they keep asking me what I will be teaching next year, and I've had to explain to them how the education system works here. Kobe has obviously been taking it all in, as he asked me yesterday if I had a job yet. I told him I didn't and he then said I could work at Maccas, Target, Coles or Kmart. I told him that was a great idea, but asked him if he thought I should still be a teacher. He then laughed at himself and said 'oh yeah! You can't teach at Maccas!'.
I was already feeling emotional because it was my last day at work today, but when Noah's photo come up in a slide show in assembly today (because he should've been finishing primary school with the grade 6 leavers today) the tears started again. I felt terrible that I couldn't stop crying at school, especially when I was working, but it's just one of those weeks. Some of the grade 6 students came up to me this week and told me that they watched a video from when they were in Kinder and it had Noah in it and said how nice it was to see him.
As part of my job at school I have been able to take a life skills cooking group each week with 6 kids with additional needs. I have loved it and each week they make something for their lunch and then sit down and eat it together. This week we made homemade meat pies and fruit kebabs. I had to smile when one of the boys made a sad face out of the tomato sauce as that was exactly how I was feeling about our last cooking group.
It's so hard with my job finishing, holidays starting (which are always hard without Aaron and Noah), Aaron's birthday next week and Christmas being all at the same time. I am hoping that the boy's excitement about Christmas and the summer holidays rubs off on me a little, because right now I just can't wait for December and January to be over with.