As a school psychologist, I've grown familiar with being a first responder to crisis and grief. We are well versed in the stages of grief and have the resources at hand whenever there is a crisis. When the deepest kind of loss, the loss of a child, strikes at the heart of our school community, it is much more difficult to process.
Frankly, I'm at a loss...
This week, my long-time friend, and principal of our school, Maryanne and her husband, Brooks, lost their precious 8-year-old Wyatt, due to complications from newly diagnosed leukemia. He was suffering from flu like symptoms last week, transported to a regional hospital in Sacramento, and we heard there was a possible diagnosis of leukemia. Wyatt and his family were going to FIGHT this!!! They were gearing up and so strong. Then the unimaginable news filtered through the school, and on tearful phone calls, on Tuesday. Wyatt had just passed away.
I've known Maryanne since I started working at BCOE nearly 16 years ago. She was a teacher at our school and is now our principal. I remember plopping down in her office when the principal job at our school became available and "begging" her to consider taking it. We were thrilled when she did. Maryanne is a bright light to our school and programs. Her office is just a couple of doors from mine, and I always love to hear her vivacious laughter. She's that kind of person--warmth and kindness exude from her. Wyatt was like that too.
This is not the first time the family has dealt with loss. Brooks lost his first wife to leukemia. When he married Maryanne, she became a step-mom to his son, Shane. This family has already been touched by grief and loss. To now endure this, the loss of a child, is simply heartbreaking beyond words.
It goes against the natural order of life.
I wasn't planning to share this story, it's not mine to tell, though we are all grieving for our friends. I read one of Maryanne's posts on Facebook in which she told us to feel free to share as they need as much support "as there is in the universe to make peace with this loss".
Wyatt was a happy kid and a friend to all. People absolutely adored him. From wearing Dodger blue ribbons with his number 12 on them, to moments of silence at his team Little League game, to words of compassion written on butcher paper by classmates, Wyatt is being remembered. I know his parents are being comforted by hearing the stories of how Wyatt navigated his world. Friends of Brooks and Maryanne have also started a Go Fund Me campaign to "Build a Buddy Bench" at his Sierra View School to memorialize this wonderful boy, wise beyond his years, in a way that will be a gift to others. Even in grief for the deepest kind of loss, this family is thinking of others. Their strength is absolutely inspiring.
I reached out to Maryanne to see if she would mind my sharing their story and the Go Fund Me link with my wonderful blog readers. She thanked me and sent me a big red heart. I only wish I could do more at this time. Please, from wherever you are today, I would appreciate a thought or a prayer for our friends, Maryanne, Brooks and Shane, as they navigate this new phase of life. Wishing them peace.
Hug your family today.
Life is so precious.
Update: Maryanne has started a very moving blog, Salt Water Tides.