It’s been a sad, confusing week. Last Friday, I was on my way to Dallas for my sister’s wedding and got word that one of Grayson’s teachers had very unexpectedly passed away at the age of 37. Alexis had been Grayson’s teacher since he started at The Caroline School in August of 2012. They spent 30 hours a week together. For a child who thrives on consistency and routine, Alexis was a hugely important part of Grayson’s life, and he adored her. All the children did.
My heart is so heavy. The Caroline School is an incredible blessing to our family, and the staff there are all exceptional. And they are hurting. They have such a challenging job teaching amazing, but challenging, kids, and now they are processing their grief and the absence of Alexis at the school.
This past summer, the school had to relocate due to their building being destroyed in the Memorial Day flooding. Alexis had an extermely difficult job, being in charge of all the kids in a place that was unfamiliar and not ideal for all their needs. But each and every day when I dropped off Grayson, she greeted us with a big smile and loved all over him. She never complained, even though I thought every day how difficult those months must have been for her. Also, the summer was when Grayson was recovering from his hip surgery and was even more high maintenance than usual. He was in a heavy, bulky wheelchair and had to be handled very carefully. Every afternoon, Alexis helped me out to our van, and spent a good 10 minutes helping me (very pregnant) get G into his carseat and the wheelchair lifted in the back. And she did this cheerfully and always told us to have a good day and she’d see us tomorrow. She’d chat with Charlotte, who also adored her. Last Wednesday afternoon, she helped me strap Grayson’s wheelchair into our new van, just like she’d done so many times before. And we said goodbye, unknowingly for the last time.
This morning was Alexis’ funeral. It was obvious by the crowd that she was well loved and will be missed. The service was totally in Spanish, which I do not speak, so I do not know what was said, but I’m so glad our whole family (minus Charlotte) was there to honor her. Grayson did incredibly well- he sat contentedly in his wheelchair, with his headphones on, and in his way said goodbye to the teacher he loved so much. I do worry about him, how he will process her absence and not know why she is no longer with him at school. It’s times like these that I long to know how much he understands and I so wish he could verbally communicate with us. And I’m so thankful he still has Kristina, the other amazing teacher in his classroom. And I’m praying for her, because what a loss she is suffering. They were such an incredible, stable team and I always felt really good about leaving Grayson in their care.
I’ve had the privilege of being taught by some incredible teachers in my life, and I hope that I impacted kids in a positive way when I taught school. But it is something else entirely to watch your own children be so blessed by a teacher. I know I thanked Alexis all the time for all she did for Grayson, but I hope she truly knew how special she was and what a gift she had with reaching special needs children. Kristina told me the other day that even though Alexis didn’t have children of her own, she considered the kids she worked with her babies. And I feel so honored that Grayson got to be one of Alexis’ babies for more than three years.
We love you Alexis, and you will be missed. Rest in Peace, sweet lady.