Clarence Johnson.

Coping with change, managing all aspects of life.

The true act of balancing.

This week, I faced my toughest obstacle, attempting to balance my learning life with my personal life.

Managing grief while working through my practicum, I authentically experienced the power of a support system, and of self awareness. I recognized the value of time, in the face of change. Change can often disrupt ones emotions, but in time the dust will settle.

To my loving family, my supportive friends, and to my empathetic advisors and colleagues…

I wish to express my appreciation for the unwavering support, love and understanding you have given me during this time

My story..

Bright and early Monday morning, I am ready and excited to start my 3rd week of practicum, when my family received news that my Grampy, recently hospitalized,  had taken a turn for the worse.

“Sarah, you may want to update your school and university supervisors, Grampy may not last the day”

My heart was aching and my mind was racing…

Do I fly to New Brunswick and see him? Will my school let me go? Will I have time? What about my students? What about the lessons I am to teach today? Can I handle this?

I managed to make it through the day, giving full credit to my school and family support networks that allowed me to go through the motions of the day, and understanding that my spirit was dampened.

“Just make to the bell Sarah…”

While my students were at library, I managed to get a hold of my Uncle, who was with my Grampy at the time – I got to say my final goodbye. For one last time I told my Grampy how much I loved him, he called me “his girl” and expressed his love. My heart swelled with sadness as my eyes did with tears.

Monday,  just as we had decided I would fly out to New Brunswick to see him one last time, we got the call. My Grampy had passed in his sleep.

Tuesday was spent watching movies with my mom, understanding we were in the ‘denial’ state of grievance, we chose to ignore phone calls and eat cookies… We were in a fog, not knowing how to react.

Then Wednesday came, and life had to continue. I arrived at practicum with a heavy heart, knowing the day would be hard, but the distraction necessary.

As my week continued I felt bombarded with emotion. My afternoons became a struggle as I was being swallowed by waves of emotional exhaustion. Grieving the loss of a man I held so dear to me, trying to survive an already life consuming practicum, while simultaneously attempting to navigate through the rigid politics of a program that limits days one can be absent, even for bereavement.

Thank goodness for a staff bathroom. Thank goodness for my support network.

Friday Came. I survived. Not without my moments of smudged mascara, not without my moments of reminiscing laughter. But I did it, I taught my lessons, I had my evaluations. I did it.

In retrospect, although this week was extremely challenging and emotional. It was a learning moment. Take each day at a time, overcoming obstacles will only make you stronger and more capable. You are never alone in your journey.

The people close to me, well aware of the amazing relationship I had with my Grampy dreaded the day I would lose him. I have the most amazing support network. We sometimes forget how valuable a support network is until we need one.

Rest in Peace my Grampy, Clarence Johnson.

I will always be “your girl”.

May you be reunited with your wife, and continue watching over all of us like you always have.



4 thoughts on “Clarence Johnson.

  1. My heart just broke for you last week – you were going through such an uncertain time of not knowing, then the grief began. I am so glad you got to spoke to him that afternoon and it was exactly what your Grampy needed as well. As you continue to go through the process I am so glad you are aware of all the support you have around you. It is unfortunate you are having to deal with added unnecessary hurdles during this time, but know that we will continue to fully support you in the classroom any way we can. 🙂

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