My Grief Challenges

84 Passenger Bus March 22, 2014


 I drive an 84 passenger bus.   My load count this year, averages approximately 145 passengers, a day. That means I have a minimum of 2 parents each, 4 grandparents, siblings, and relatives, counting on me to transport their loved ones, to school and home, safely, five days a week.  I am sure my companions, on the road, appreciate that I be attentive to them, as well. Wednesday morning, my front seat sitters said these things,: “You’re mean, Mrs. K”. In the morning, you are fun to talk with, in the afternoon, you grump at us.You are the worst bus driver. I am going to tell my parents, I want another bus driver.                   They proceeded in giving me justification, for their comments, with the following statements: You are always angry.  You don’t give us treats.  You won’t let us seat hop or jump  in the aisle. Why can’t we jump bumps ? You don’t like us to yell. You get upset when we tease or bother others. How come you chew gum and we can’t ?  You tell us,  “If you’re not sitting like Mrs. K., you’re sitting the wrong way.    What is wrong with laying on the seat and dangling our heads in the aisle ? Why can’t we crawl under the seats, while you are driving ? We like to bite the seats, why can’t we ?  Why can’t we draw on the seats ? What is wrong with licking the windows ?   You never stop to let us go to the restroom. How come we cant push the buttons by your steering wheel ?  Why can’t we open the back door or use the red levers to open the emergency windows ?  Why do you have to listen to your work radio ?  Why do we have to wait for you to let us cross the road ?  Why do we have to know what to do in an emergency ?                                                                                                                                                             That Wednesday afternoon, I was so disappointed in my PM elementary passengers.  One of the older passengers threw up. What did all of the kids do, but one ? They stood up and then started acting  like they were going to throw up. This shy, nearly perfect passenger, began crying, not just from being sick, but from all the other passengers gagging and laughing. One passenger came through. This passenger does not like me, at all.  Our 3 years together have been a challenge.  Well, the bus was stopped, she said:” I know what to do !”  She came forward and grabbed the garbage can..    The sick passenger did not want to leave the bus, she was so embarrassed.. I told her dad he could get on the bus to help. He just stood, in the doorway,  As they headed home, I could hardly contain my upsetness.   I let out the next passengers. Shut the door, which cancels my student stop lights (the upper lights), turned on my hazards,  grabbed my wet wipes. I headed toward the last students, who had caused the biggest scene,. I gave them a hear to what for like nobodies business. I knew all was on camera.. I then went to the seat that needed cleaning, before driving any further. I was still steaming. I sat in my seat. I looked up and saw traffic in front of me stopped. The city bus had it’s hazards on.                                                                                                                                                       Here is something that gets me. The car in front of the city bus stayed stopped. I only had me hazards on, not my student stop lights, so cars were free to go around me. How many times a day do us school bus drivers have the student stop lights  and stop arm out, drivers run through them.  But, when we have the hazards on, cars stop. It is very frustrating.                                                                                                                                                                                     I found a video, explaining the bus lights. Maybe it will help to relieve some of the misunderstandings.

I proceeded, let the next students out, drove a little ways. I stopped the bus and called dispatch. I told them about my reaction to the throw up situation, I made sure those at the back, heard both sides of the work radio conversation. Yes, I told on my self. It is just what works for me.                                                                                                                          We came to a student stop let the boy and his guest out. I had quite a ways to drive before the next stop. I did some planning. At the next stop, I was going to have the big girls move forward, and the younger kids to move way back.  I asked the girls to forgive me. Told them why I was so upset. They had no clue how their actions had hurt the shy girl they barely knew.  As we talked each girl started giving examples of times they had been embarrassed. I asked how they felt. One girl had an example of how her friend comforted her. I said, that is exactly what  ONE girl did, on our bus.. Here is the amazing thing, that helper has said many times how she wants her parents to get her a new bus driver.  I had been praying for God to find a way to turn things around, in regards to our relationship–?                            Upon arrived at one of the girl’s stops, I told them to tell their parents, ask for the tape to be pulled and we could get things dealt with. The one girl said she did not know why I said that, we had just spent several minutes getting things talked out. I told the girls to tell the boy who had already left the bus.. At one of the girl’s stops, we saw her mom, arms crossed. We realized the phone tree had been enacted. These families have been best friends for years. The girls said no big deal, they would just say what happened.  They had assured me they weren’t angry. Guess we will see what happens after spring break.

 I hope as you have read, so far, you might get the feeling of some of the frustration us school bus drivers go through. My route is one of the best.

Last year, at this time, it was my turn to spend time with Shawn. He  had been improving, to the point where he was communicating, as best as he could, his desire to leave the hospital.  Anyone helping him was being encouraged to be the one to get him out of the hospital. On one of my visits, he thought it would be easy to just roll him out.   

I remember, one day, getting ready to go into Shawn’s room. The wrapping had just been taken off the new cardio chair. One of the ladies told the other, “That is Shawn’s Mom.” I said hello and they proudly showed me the brand new cardio chair. They told me they couldn’t give me anymore information as to where it came from.   Then and there, I named it Shawn’s Shuttle Seat   The ladies loved the name. They also let me know how much they cared and were praying for Shawn to walk out of the hospital.

20130314_134640On this particular day,Shawn was asking me to sneak him out of the hospital, it would be easy while he was in the cardio chair. I had to tell him he needed to improve more before leaving the hospital. He became very mad at me. To the point I had to leave, his numbers had jumped too high. That was one of the lowest nights, for me.          In the days to follow, Shawn put his fight on. I enjoyed encouraging him, as he showed his determination. He was going to walk out of that hospital on his own feet. And I was going to be there for it all. I have a video that shows how determined Shawn was.   One of the helpers, witnessing Shawn’s determination, remarked to me, “He got that determination from someone.”     Oops,   the video shows that Shawn stood up 3 times. He was exhausted, that night,  he slept well.  He let me know he was sorry for what he had called me, because I refused to assist him out of the hospital.  I am also reminded of a video from Shawn’s 29th Bob and he were talking. Shawn was telling Bob he was sorry. Many times he had apologized, when all I wanted was for him to use his energy getting better.

I was exhausted last spring break, but there was still hope of Shawn’s recovery. This spring break, I am exhausted  and sad because there is no reason to hope for Shawn’s healing, now what ???                                                                          This song played many times this past week, during low moments-missing Shawn.        

My storm has not passed, yet.  During which time, the healing and growth are very slowly and silently working. I am clinging to comfort scriptures, during this time of ???. Psalm 139. Psalm 23 and Job 38-41.  Through many years and trials, these scriptures have been my anchor.      At this time, also, I have found overload happening. I was trying to be an encouragement to others, with nothing to give.  A friend of mine reminded me of the scripture in Exodus 17:11. Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ arms.  I am wondering if there are times in our lives when God brings helpers , until the healing and growth have started ?  My friend lost her son 14 years ago.  She encouraged me to be patient with myself, and let God’s helpers, help. As for my guilt, it may be a releasing process like when a mother is having a baby. There may be helpers and helps, but only her body can do the actual bringing forth, of the baby.  I can’t wait for my guilt to, one day, be released.                                                                                       What perplexes me most, is why others seem not to understand why I have guilt regarding Shawn’s end ???                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

20131123_175227 Tiger,on the left, had me so worried, Monday. When I took Tiger and Tuffy, out of their sleeping tent, for the day. As picked Tige up, she cried, I could not get her comfortable. It was time to  time to go outside. Tuff ran, Tige did not. She sat on  the deck. I carried her to the Zoro mountain ramp. She just sat and looked sad at me.  Bob said she just layed around, the other dogs left her alone. The vet, gave her a shot. Bob let the dogs play in the park. Tige seemed to be feeling better. On Tuesday am, Tuff was so happy running and hiding and playing with Tige. It was so easy to see how happy Tuff was because her sister was better. Precious pups, each day I already have a thankful.




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