While Carl lived to see his kids get married, take many amazing trips with his wife and meet all five of his grandchildren, it doesn't mean he won't be missed. For years, there were many health scares for Carl where he didn't think he would make it. I assumed this final time was the same. When his daughter told me things were not looking good, I figured I would get a call the next day informing me Carl had had improved and we could come and visit. Not this time, this time he was actually gone and I can't seem to shake the disbelief.
I met Carl over 10 years ago, when he was the reason I was hired for my very first teaching job at Voyager Middle School. I was 23 and had only a one long-term teaching experience under my belt, no Masters degree and no extra certificates. Carl informed the committee he would like to team with me because I reminded him of both his past teaming partner (who moved) and his daughter (who is three days older than me).
Until he retired last year, i had the privilege of teaching with him and getting to know both Carl and his family. My husband and I played on his softball team, went to his wine parties and he even read at our wedding. He was a special person in our family and we always looked forward to the times we spent with Carl. As a teacher, I've never met anybody who was so dedicated to his job. Even after he retired, when he was obviously run down, he continued to substitute in the building. Kids loved him, many asking to "TA" for him after they moved on to 7th and 8th grade. He was known for his sarcastic humor, passion for sports and myriad of ties- one for each day of the school year, plus some.
Carl has left a lasting impression in the minds and hearts of many co-workers, friends, students, and of course his family. He was so proud of of all his kids and grand-kids and talked about them often. It will be incredibly difficult to return to work this fall and not hear his voice (literally, I could hear him teaching math lessons from down the hall) in the building. His absence will definitely be felt by all who knew him- and he was known by many.
So tonight, I'm drinking a nice glass of red wine in honor of Carl- because that is exactly what he would want everybody to be doing. Celebrating a life well lived.