21 days ago, I posted this picture. This is Sheryl Hatton. Olivia's teacher.
I was getting into the car after aerobics this morning when I checked the messages on my phone. There was one from Raine's mom telling me to call her about some things going on at school.
I called back immediately. Raine's mom said, "Well, I don't really know how else to say this. Mrs. Hatton died this morning."
I had to pull the car over. Surely I must have heard wrong. She had been out since Thursday. Olivia said she had a sore elbow. (I guess that's why you shouldn't get your info from a 4 yr. old.) Apparently she had caught something that had been going around the faculty and just couldn't shake it. She was admitted into the hospital yesterday and passed away early this morning before school even started.
I called Steve immediately to tell him. As it turns out, he found out when he dropped O off at school. He ended up staying for about 45 minutes. Several parents were there and a few grief counselors. In the end, most of the kids in O's class were doing pretty well. The older kids at the school who had her before were the ones who were having a hard time. At O's school a child stays in the same class with the same teachers for 3 years.
Surprisingly, I'm the one who's been struggling. I've been an emotional wreck today. I keep thinking about how much Olivia loved her. Last year when O had some fear issues, Mrs. Hatton took her under her wing (maybe too much so.) She would take O on *special errands* and let her be the *helper.* Just last week Mrs. Hatton said to Olivia, "Hey, Olivia, do you want to stay all day for Kindergarten?" Then she winked at me and said, "Boy is she ready for it!" What a turn of events from last year.
Last week, 2 days before she was out because of her cold, she led a really fun activity. She read the kids The Gingerbread Man. Then they went to the cooking room and baked gingerbread. When they opened the oven door, the gingerbread man was missing. They went on a hunt around the school for him. They finally found him in the Principal's office in a time out. He was *found running in the hall.* The principal explained a lesson on not running in the hall. They also made finger puppets that went along with the story. Olivia talked about that all the way until bed time. It has been her favorite day at school by far.
It's so sad for me because I know how much Mrs. Hatton "got" Olivia. And appreciated her. And liked her. Similar to my mom. Now, they are both gone. (here come tears.) So, although it appears O is fine, I am not. Who knew this would rip the band aid off of my wound? Just when I thought I was healing up so nicely.