Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Grief and Starting Anew

So here's the thing- I don't share my own personal journey online. There are lots of reasons for that. But today, I just feel I should. I don't know why; perhaps it's because someone needs to hear it. Perhaps it's just because I need to put written words to it. I don't know, but here goes.

After leaving my beloved teaching job a few years ago, I floundered for about a year. I didn't know where I fit in the world without teaching. I grieved for the job that was never just a job to me. It was the love of my life. I worked with children with special needs. Some in wheelchairs, some unable to speak and all with learning difficulties...I loved, taught, cared for and nurtured them. They always gave me more than I could ever give them. But two back surgeries ended my career with one slam of the gavel. And I was left with a hole in my life, a hole in my heart.

As if predicted by fate, my father had given me letters he'd written to his folks during the war- before my first surgery, while I was still teaching. Little did I know that those letters would save me. I had begun transcribing them and now, while recovering from surgery, I continued. Then I began meeting my father for breakfast once a week; I asked questions about the war. I went home and wrote what I learned. Slowly, as a story emerged- my grief began to fade.

I completed the book at the end of 2006. Then I began sporatically sending articles and stories about anything I could think of to various publications, both online and print. I truly began freelancing in April 2007. My first freelance success was an online newsletter called "In the Margin" which is published by Kristen King. It may have only been $10 but to me it was much more. It meant that perhaps there was a place for me in the world afterall. Perhaps I did have something to share that was worthwhile. And maybe, just maybe...I would be able to once again contribute financially to the care of my family.

Looking back over the last few years, I can see that I've come such a very long way. I've received words of encouragement which propelled me forward. So to those of you who may think that your small token of praise is just a cluster of words, I say to you, Those are words of life to a dry spirit. Never hold them back-you don't know what beauty, what hope can come from them. And if you are a person who has blossomed under sprinkles of praise, pass it on. You may never know the results of your words, but the world will.

Thanks to all my encouragers,

photo: I came across this flower a few days ago. It was blooming from a crack in the cement wall of an old building - against all odds.


Anonymous said...


That was beautiful. You are fortunate to add yet another place in this world where you belong.

You were fortunate to have the love of your life for as long as you did. And the children have their memories of you to carry them through life.

Now, you have spread your wings and we, the world, are fortunate to have you now.

Thank you. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

Nita said...

Thanks for posting that Karen. Maybe it was for me.

Lillie Ammann said...

Thanks for sharing. May your new life as a writer be as special as your teaching career.

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Thanks friends. This was a hard one to post. It's nice to get some feedback.

Happy writing...and I mean it!


moonslice said...

what a beautiful post and photo. i always like to hear about someone liking their teaching job. it gives me hope, because i hated it so much when i taught! i knew the kids deserved better (someone who could make them behave), so I quit.

i'm so glad you are finding your place as a freelancer. please don't let rejection discourage you. i'm trying to do the same.

Karen L. Alaniz said...

moonslice-Thanks. Someone who could make them behave? That's funny! Managing classroom behavior is truly the most challenging part of teaching...that's for sure. But there are tricks-of-the-trade too. Actually, seven of my fifteen years were spent teaching kids with behavior disorders. Maybe some day I'll write about it.

Thanks for the comment!

Margie said...

I can totally relate to feeling like I've lost my identity after having to give up a career. For me it was working in publishing though. Time to move on, time to diversify myself even more!

Jennifer said...

This isn't funny but it'll do. You know, I used to work with disabled kids (and adults) too. I liked it a lot but like being with my son better. I am sorry your time with it got cut short. That kind of stuff bites. I like the photo as well; the caption was great.

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Margie- I guess that makes us kindred spirits. Yes, move on. Move forward. We can do this!

And yes it does Jennifer. But looking back now I can see a purpose. But that doesn't make the journey any less difficult.


Anonymous said...

Very well written Karen! :)-evelyn

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Why thank you Evelyn!