I read on Facebook this morning that my middle school’s chorus and music teacher passed away. She wasn’t someone who I felt terribly connected to, but I enjoyed her classes and respected her enthusiasm for teaching music to young kids.
I sang in the chorus, which was pretty big considering the size of my school. There were opportunities to be part of smaller scale projects, like her Cole Porter seminar or the production of the HMS Pinafore. Although I always loved to sing, the fear of singing solo in public terrified me. Coupled with the imminent taunting that was so prevalent in those days, I simply didn’t even consider it.
Some of my friends were involved, though. Their parents were supportive of such endeavors, and had the disposable income to send their daughters on the bus trips to New York for Broadway shows. We learned about Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables in music class, and I could only wonder about how magical it might be to see it in real life.
One girl, a pseudo-friend, was a tough kid and bully, was absolutely obsessed with the teacher. Practically all her free time was spent loitering around the music room. She even developed a bizarre big sister like relationship with the teacher’s son, who was easily three years younger than us. I imagine she’s taking the news rather hard.
For me, however, I feel only the momentary pang of sadness. The passing rumination of “oh, I remember her,” and the realization that I’d probably never see her again anyway, even if she lived to be 100 years old. I moved away from my hometown for a reason, not that she was one of them. But the cutting of ties from a place which has never felt like home includes the collateral damage of losing perfectly nice people like the music teacher.
It feels a bit heartless to say, but I don’t feel anything really. Sure, it’s sad to hear about someone’s passing. At the end of the day, though, it’s all part of life. People die every day, so it’s really only a matter of time before it’s someone you know. As with any loss, your heart goes out to the people she left behind, and hope that she didn’t suffer.