I feel really stupid.
I found out tonight about the death of a teacher I had in high school. I don’t know why I’m so upset about it but I am. I haven’t seen this man in 20 years and haven’t thought about him much since graduation.
I feel like I don’t have the right to feel sad about this. He taught me how to drive. He encouraged me to follow my dreams of studying medicine (sorry about that). He genuinely liked me for me, not because he taught my siblings. He appreciated my jokes.
Like a lot of smaller towns, he was a coach and a teacher. He told me about his heart surgery when I was studying anatomy. He made fun of me when I hit a curb in the driver’s ed car. He made fun of me for getting a speeding ticket in one of the most well known speed traps ever. He was always nice to me and smiled a lot, but I’ve seen him angry too, and frankly it was awesome because he never got angry without a reason.
His son died the year after I graduated. I remember it as a blip, and remembered thinking how sad it was but that’s all. Self centered 18 year olds don’t make for very compassionate people. I didn’t know his son, but I knew of him. A couple of years older, I think. I mean, everyone knew everyone in a way. It was a small town. We all went to the same school, the same grocery stores, the same Wal-Mart, all that.
Maybe it’s nostalgia fueling that sadness, but honestly, I think I’m also shocked at how positively he influenced my life. Not by anything huge and grandiose, but just by being a great person. He will be terribly missed.