Conversations with Kids · Education · Family life · Local · Mom is Doing Her Best · Prevention and Addiction

In Retrospect

lilac
Memorial Day also coincides with peak blooming of NH’s state flower, the purple lilac

One of my favorite authors, Wally Lamb, once wrote a novel called I Know This Much Is True, and I’m considering a rewrite.  For the time being though, I’ll instead share a list of what I’ve learned to be true in the last 10 days.

  • We’ve been hanging out at our pond for years now with our children and never seen so many mating toads as this spring.  Our son thought they were just giving each other piggy back rides.  Another boy we catch frogs with thought they were just dating.  Upon learning they were mating and observing that they did not become unattached after dumping our entire bucket of mating toads back into the pond, our daughter announced, “They must really love each other to be so stuck together like that.” Clearly, they must be in a lot of love.
    • I could post this and someone might comment, “Wow, that’s awesome how much time your kids spend outside and learning from nature.
    • Someone else could comment, “During the mating the season, it’s important not to disrupt toad egg production in process.”
    • Both would be right, but we are still going to let our children run amok with nets and fishing poles and build small dams with rocks and look for signs of the Blue Heron return because that is how they learn.
  • I wrote a blog last week which generated a tremendous dialogue about addiction and privacy in our area.  I could not have imagined it would be my most shared blog to date.  Ever.  Read over 16,000 times and shared almost 300 from what I could tell before I deleted it over social media.  It also made a lot of people angry.
    • There were people who felt I used another person’s situation for my own gain.   I do not make any money off my website; instead it has become a writing platform for me to work on my craft.  Generally, most of my blogs are only read by my mom and dad, my in laws, and friends Rebecca and Michelle, with a few others from time to time.
    • There were others who felt I was brave for telling the story in hopes of raising deeper awareness in our community.
    • Six people in recovery sent me emails thanking me because I showed compassion for the driver along with the complexity of anger in the experience.
  • I learned that many local families are struggling with addiction and recovery;  I know this because 13 people privately emailed me asking if it was their partner, spouse or adult child I came across that afternoon.  This made me sad.
  • Part of the reason I shared the writing, which helped me to process what I had seen that afternoon is because only in retrospect is vision 20/20.  I learned by talking with the police that I really should have called 911 immediately.  Those 5-10 minutes could have made the difference between finding the person driving or finding them at home.
    • There were many more people who commended me for stopping to help than there were people who told me I was responsible for future accidents this individual might cause because I “let her drive away.”
    • There were many, many people who assumed I did not know the mandatory reporting law as a teacher, whether at school or within the community.  I am well aware of the law and expectations as an educator of 21 years, but the reminders are certainly good for everyone.
    • Had the driver been found on the road, she may or may not have been arrested.  But since she made it home safely, maybe this was the wake up call she needed to seek help.
    • Part of the reason I took the blog down was waking up one morning to 3 different people commenting, “I heard it was so and so…No, I heard it was… Actually, I know for a fact…” I deleted those comments not because those people were accurate, but rather it was never supposed to be about publicly identifying this person.
  • There were two other witnesses who stopped to help as well, one of whom I know also called the police as we drove away from the scene.
    • I could have just kept driving when I noticed her head down.
    • I could have NOT called the police.
    • Neither would have been choices I could have lived with.
  • Some people believed me to be a terrible person– that I should LOSE my job as a teacher– that my students must not like me writing about real life situations.
    • Four students called or texted or emailed to let me know that they’ve known I’ve written about them before (even when, in 2 cases I hadn’t but they identified so much with the  anonymous story they thought I had) and it’s never bothered them.
    • One commented, “Krill, you didn’t grow up with social media– are you doing okay with people saying mean things?”  I reminded them when I was kid we just said things to one another’s faces and maybe that’s why I can handle criticism.
    • I love that they worried my skin wasn’t thick enough even when it was.
  • People shared local resources.  Like mental illness, the stigma surrounding addiction is just one barrier for people to overcome when getting better.
  • I care so much about adolescent drug and alcohol prevention education that I’ve been on Adapt’s Board of Directors for 12 years  (www.adaptnh.org).  I believe we should have Narcan in our schools, and I believe every teacher and parent should be trained in how to administer it because we just never know when that can save a life.  Chances are that future blog will get a lot of reads too because this is a subject which hits close to home in EVERY community.
  • I was reminded by all the good people in the world who are just doing their best each day to get by, be good parents, helpful neighbors, contributing members of their communities.  There are community resources like our first responders, police, fire, and the Bridge Project here in town along with social workers and student assistance people working together to help families in crisis.
  • And when I needed to take some deep breaths outside and reflect on what I know to be true, I remembered that lilacs smell better than just about anything else.

Thanks for reading my follow up here.  Please remember to take some time tomorrow, Monday, Memorial Day 2018, to reflect on all you know to be true too…

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