Audio is Available, My Grief Challenges

This Funny Sound~~~ September 10, 2016




Many years ago, I had this very difficult passenger.  This passenger had quite the bad reputation, on the bus and in school. One day I needed the help from a teacher to get this passenger under control. It was time for me to leave. The teacher said: “This to shall pass”. I decided to find ways to bring out the positive, in this passenger. I had given a warning about him having to sit in seat #1 until I was pleased with his behavior.    

This student was a very smart 3rd grader. He read for me, worked on his homework, explained how to do various math problems, talked about his favorite things to do. One afternoon, I heard this funny sound, coming from seat #1. It stopped. The sound happened again. At my passenger’s stop he played his ring tone.  Both of us were laughing so hard. He told me how to find the Drunk Squirrel ring tone.   It took Bob quite a bit of time to find the correct ring tone. I was so glad he was able to put it on my phone.  I love it !!!

 After that, my passenger was free to sit where he wanted. He chose to stay up front. Each day, this bright child would share the things he had learned that day.        I had been told by the teacher who had helped me, that he was so pleased with the improved behavior of our challenging student/passenger.  Before he would get out of the bus, he would play the ring tone, for me. I  love the memory of those chuckle moments.             My passenger hadn’t ridden for a while. I asked the teacher if he knew anything about him.  It turns out that my passenger had moved. My heart sank.    For me, it is always so hard to no longer transport a passenger that has had such improved behavior.

I will not change my ring tone, there are so  many pleasant memories, each time I hear it.  While in Shawn’s room,  at the hospital, so many folks would laugh when they heard my ring tone.      Oh wait,  I will change my ring tone, if technology figures out how to take some of Shawn’s voice clips and lets me make a message:    

“Love ya, Mom”  


   I am following someone who is on a weight-loss journey.  She recommended this song by Shirley Caesar;  “Peace in the Midst of the Storm”:  


 Our church had a visiting pastor from Wenatchee, September 4, 2016. He mentioned Psalm 42. I was sure it was familiar. I looked up the scripture on pinterest. Lo and behold, Psalm 42:1,  I had memorized after a very scary breathing situation, which landed me in the hospital. I remember my sister Connie helping me breathe into a paper sack, as we were heading back to Gritman Memorial Hospital, in Moscow. I will write more about that time, in another post.         Anyways,  As The Deer I never memorized the rest of the verses. I have read and listened to that chapter, many times.  How it applies to me.  Oh My Soul As I listened to Pastor Gene, I thought he might be talking to me.  He read verse 5. “I will, yet, praise You”, were the only words I heard.  Since Shawn died, I have been feeling awful that joy, praise and gratefulness, are thoughts so far away from me.  I am such a different person, now. Will those words ever apply to me, again, without self-imposed guilt ???   The word that hit me was, “YET”.  Yes, very loud and clear. The muck of grief emotions has been so hard to trudge through. Dark, sad and gloomy are my load to carry. Nothing is fulfilling. There is, always, a dark cloud looming over me.    I, anxiously, await for my “YET” to come !!!



School start up was hard;  a new boss and oh so many sudden changes. Those stresses, a new school year, and the dread of Kindy start-up, all have left many of us exhausted, unsure and apprehensive.

For my morning elementary run, there were many parents and passengers, happy or with happy tears because I am their driver, again.  

One phrase that struck me: “I can’t help, that’s is not my job”.  This phrase, from an upper, hit me hard, throughout the various struggles of our start-up week. Is that how it is ? The folks at the top, pressing and pressing their underlings ???  Then I remembered my counselor telling me not to mull. As I was in the process of letting go, I was jolted. A vivid memory came to mind. It was one of the last conversations Shawn and I had. He was explaining how hard it was to be a good worker-who helped others, instead was criticized, ignored, his efforts were seemed useless. I told Shawn to try and forget the happenings, go to work and try not to think negative of anyone, just be the best worker, within his abilities and not worry what others said about him. I wanted him to get back to me and report how he did. He had a happiness as he explained how things were better with a different outlook.  

Melissa called this past Thursday, with a broken heart-work issues. I gave her an assignment that was meant to lighten her upcoming challenges. I did not tell her I was going to be mentioning Shawn’s work stresses, in this post. Her phone call was tough, as it took me back to one of the last times I spoke with Shawn.  


 I have spoken to other grievers. This Sunday being the 15th year since 911, has many of us overwhelmed and resaddened.  Grief is exhaustingly ceaseless.   

The plane hit where the boulder is now. May 8, 2016

The plane hit where the boulder is now.
May 8, 2016

My Grief Challenges

~~~ Just Feeling Blue ~~~ January 31, 2015


Wednesday,  the first day Jimmy wouldn’t be riding our bus, anymore. His family moved to a new town. ~~~Just feelin’  Blue~~~You see, I have been Jimmy’s school bus driver for 3  1/2 years. When he first rode as a kindy, he was afraid and didn’t make a sound.        I was told by his 1st grade classmates that he couldn’t speak or understand English.   The first part of his 2nd grade year, if I asked him a question, he would give a moan grunt answer. Before that Christmas, he started  visiting with other passengers. He even had some hyper moments. By the end of 2nd grade he was telling jokes. He was very watchful of his fellow passengers at their stop, before pick-up and after drop off times.      This year, his 3rd grade year, Jimmy helped with communication to parents of new kindy passengers, who could not understand English. His stop had about 8 kindys.  At afternoon drop-off time, Jimmy helped  teach the kindys to wave at their picker -upper. He understood how  important it was for each kindy  to have someone they knew, near the bus, to pick them up.             Each kindy has to know the name of the person picking them up. My name for them is: picker-upper. Some are parents, sitters, various relatives-all previously approved.                    About the second week of this school year, I named the stop “Jimmy’s Stop”.  At school, my passengers let the school workers know the new name for their stop, even the kindys. It was so fun hearing the staff report this to me.   The workers at the school had told me how thrilled they were about Jimmy’s blossoming personality.  He had told them how happy he was that Mrs. K had named the stop after him.    I learned that his helpfulness went with him to school. He had become such a blessing, for all, to be around. Now, today, January 28, 2015, my heart is sad. No more Jimmy and his family. The passengers are sad, as well.           Yep,  goneness strikes, again.         I will pray for Jimmy and his family-they all were so dear to me—I will miss them all, very much.                                      BUT, was that why I was feelin’ blue ?       Maybe I was just dreading my work physical at the end of the day !!!                                                                                                           All day long, little nudges of guilt popped up uninvited.     As my last passenger left the bus, I realized  what was happening. It was a Wednesday. Ugh !!!           9e6475d607f9fc77658f298d569d54ce  No matter how hard I try to push grief guilt aside, it has an awful persistence.  I feel pretty much alone-no one seems to understand the guilt that hits me, in the face, on a regular basis.  I try to ignore it.       Fact is, I am just one of those folks who thinks they never try hard enough.                                                                                                                                                                                              This is what God put in the middle of my Wednesday.                      Ecuador 2008                         Usually, I like to close my bus door when I go to clock out then in. This day I did not. When I came back to my bus, I heard a strange rustling noise inside.   I am used to the sound of the birds walking on the bus roof, but this sound was by the front seat.  Suddenly, a squirrel was sitting on my bus seat. I told it not to be afraid and to please not tinkle on my bus seat cushion. I was given a bothered look. The squirrel  hopped up onto the stirring wheel, he just looked at me. He seemed quite upset that I was still there. As he  hopped onto the dash, I stepped onto the first step wondering how I was going to get this critter out-I needed to do my kindy run. The squirrel hopped/flew down and headed down the aisle. I decided to go out to the back of the bus open the back door with  hopes the squirrel would leave. I was in a hurry and did not want to embarrassingly ask the mechanics to help me ~~~ Opening the door did not bother my guest.  So, I thumped on the floor.  Finally the my guest ran out the front door and  across the bus lot to the wooded area.     Just another distraction from God.                                               The next day, I saw a squirrel wiggle up under a tightly closed door, into a bus. I was surprised at how small of an opening the squirrel needed to go through. My attempts at getting the critter to leave, failed. I left the door open, hoping the critter would leave. I can imagine the surprise of an unsuspecting bus driver, or the chaos of a bus full of passengers and a frightened squirrel.     

              BlueBird Bus   Yesterday, Friday, I realized  a dread. This is the time of year when school bus drivers give  emergency evacuation talks to their passengers.   I am sure a lot of  school bus drivers have heard the moans and complaints when starting an emergency evacuation talk.    Here is a sample of my ending comment to my high schoolers.   “Passengers, you may get tired of repeated evacuation talks. I cannot stress enough the need to have an emergency action plan for whatever, whenever or wherever an emergency may happen.  How can I say the right words to get my passengers to listen, remember and be able to apply what I have shared, when   needed ?  Much of the information, from the evac talks, can be applied in other situations. What can I say to get my passengers to realize how important evac talks are and how important preparedness is ? ”                                              I used to love evac talks, until Shawn’s fire happened. Did I fail Shawn ???  I could have told him how much of a gut grind I had about the security bars on the basement windows.  Why didn’t I say more ???   Why didn’t I ask Shawn how security bars are removed during an emergency ???  Would Shawn be alive, today, had I been more persistent ???             So, my dread is that I haven’t communicated thoroughly  to my passengers about emergency action planning. I know I couldn’t handle it if one of them was in a emergency situation and  didn’t know what to do because I was slack with my responsibility ?                                                           Here is a clip, from you-tube  regarding evacuation procedures: