Monday, October 26, 2009

Looking at flowers and trees - Short story

Hi all, Well today I am going to drop a sad yet awakening story on you. Several years ago, I was asked by Molly to create some stories about situations that teachers had to deal with at the daycare (pre-k) where Molly taught. She wanted the story to teach a lesson..... The following story was one dealing with death. Simple enough but the real lesson is who was the teacher and who was the student...


Teacher and Death
by jay wilson ©2006

Teacher Katy was glad to see little Joey back at daycare but she worried about what to say to her small student. Joey’s mother had died unexpectedly. No one at the school knew why but that didn’t matter. The thing that was important now was helping the 4 year old get through his grieving. Teacher Katy knew Joey would be sad but she wasn’t prepared for what happened the day the little boy returned to school.

Teacher was in her room when Joey and his Dad walked into her classroom. She put on her happy face when the sad boy looked up into her eyes. Joey half-heartedly smiled and that put her a little at ease. Dad kissed his son goodbye, smiled at Teacher Katy and left. The other young students were busy playing in their areas. Joey ambled up to the teacher and asked if she could hold him. She sat in a chair and the child climbed up without a word spoken. With big blue eyes filled with newly formed tears, he asked, “Why did my Mommy leave me?”

Teacher Katy’s heart sank. She didn’t know what to tell a little boy why his mother had gone away and would never come back. It was all she could do not to start crying although tears did swell in her eyes. The teacher wished there was someone else who could come and talk to the sad boy but this task fell to her. She knew this had to be dealt with but she wasn’t sure she could handle it. She could see his little heart was breaking and he needed answers now.

“Joey, your Mommy didn’t leave you. She just changed how she sees you and how you see her.”, Teacher began.

Joey looked puzzled, “Like how, teacher?”

“Well, you know how we have flowers every year and then they go away until the next year? They don’t really leave us they just come back a little different. Maybe your Mommy has done that too.”

“Do you mean Mommy will come back to me?” Joey’s face was as if in great study. “Will I see her again”.

“Yes, you will see her again but she might be different from the way she was.”

“Do you think she might come back as a flower?” he asked. “My Mommy loves flowers”

Teacher Katy didn’t know where or how to continue her talk. But still she moved forward. “Would you like your Mommy to be a flower? If you do then maybe you can see her every time you look at a flower”.

Joey looked down and then back up. He had a smile when he said, “I would like that but I am still sad. I will miss her”.

The teacher was grasping for answers as well as control of her emotions.

Joey asked, “Did your Mommy become a flower?”

The sadness hit her and a tear fell from her cheek. “No, but my Daddy left me just like your Mommy did. They both had to go.”

“Is your Daddy a flower now?” Joey asked with a confused expression.

That made Teacher Katy smile again. Somewhere in the little boy’s question was an answer she had been looking for. “No, I don’t think he’s a flower. When I look at a roadway with tall trees and grasses growing, I see my Dad in the trees. He loved places like that and I know that’s where I will find him.

Joey was looking into his teacher’s eyes when he reached up and placed a small hand on each side of her face. Then he asked, “Would your Daddy take care of my Mommy?

Teacher pulled the boy close with a hug, “Yes, he would be happy to take care of your Mommy. He was always taking care of others.”

A tear fell from Joey’s cheek yet at the same time one raced down Teacher’s face and fell on the boy’s shirt. Joey already knew he was going to look for flowers when they went outside to play. And Teacher Katy knew she would be looking into the trees with its thousands of leaves.

The two of then held each other for a while and Joey sat up, smiled, and got down. The child picked up a toy and began to play. A strange thing happened on this day.

Where the teacher had hoped to aid the young one with his loss, the student had also become the teacher. They helped each other to cope.

And for the rest of the day, Joey did seem more at peace … and so did Teacher Katy.


  1. Wonderful. Gave me chills, and smiles. Thanks again.
    be blessed,

  2. Geez - you could have put a "tear warning" on that one for me! Great story! Lisa