Same time last year, I talked to my long time friend and colleague on the phone early that morning. It was not the regular “hi-hello-goodbye-what’s-new-wuzzup” kind of call that we usually had. It was a tough conversation that was so hard to for me to digest. It was the most devastating news that I ever received so far from home. And it was indeed a faith-shaking moment that I can’t believe I was having at that particular moment.
[Our last picture together.]
My friend was also my former co-teacher.
And true to her profession… she taught me something that I know I will cherish for as long as I live.
She was a year younger than me but has been a teacher long before I joined the profession. When I was still new in that school and finding my way into the system, she taught me a lot of things that helped me survived the crucial stage of the “teachingdom”. She provided me not only with some special materials she personally made to facilitate teaching strategies but effective secret tools to help me deal with the unforeseen troubles that my young students might play on me. If you know what I mean!
She was more than a teacher. She took care of her students like her own children [she has 2 and one of them is my Godchild] when they were not in the classroom and treats them “business-as-usual” when in the classroom. She played and she worked with them. She laughed and cried with them when called for. She was a friend and a mother to all of them. She was a mentor of the young hearts.
She was one of the toughest teachers I have ever known. She was firm and full of conviction. She fought for what she believed in. She was ready to gnaw anybody down just to prove her points. And she was ready to exchange blows if her conviction was challenged by deception.
But she was not just a teacher who teaches. She was not just a friend who listens. She was not just a mother who cares. She was not just a mentor who molds. Neither was she a tough person who fights for what is right. She was a person of unwavering faith... a survivor... and an inspiration.
[She fought her hardest battle till the end.]
Teaching is not all about the students. Teaching is about the teacher too. My friend taught me the real meaning of miracle. She has lung cancer. Her body maybe fragile at that moment but her spirit wasn't. She must have doubted whether she will see her kids graduate from college or get married and have children of their own but she never doubted her trust in God. She may have not been strong enough to fight this toughest battle she was facing that moment but her faith was strong enough to fight for her.
I miss my friend. It’s so tough that we don’t talk or see each any more but our friendship will live forever.
My friend is my teacher. She taught me life lessons that will help me go through life with the same conviction that she had. But more importantly she taught me to appreciate life better and showed me a new way to see life in a different light… in a different way… in a whole new perspective.
NOTE: My friend lost her battle to cancer 6 months after that conversation. I miss her so much.