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To tell her how important she was?

(41 Posts)
devonbookworm Wed 20-Sep-17 01:49:55

As a child I craved mother figures, as my mother was physically and emotionally abusive, and is so damaged herself that she really cannot parent or offer any unconditional love. Despite this I have had a good life, thanks to a lovely Dad, but also to two teachers who I thought the world of, and who I used to wish were my mother. One died eleven years ago. Not a day has gone by without me thinking of her. The other is someone I contact maybe at Christmas, but quite rarely. I was so aware of being needy and attention seeking as a child that I left her alone when I left school, though did write to say the reason I'd taken her subject at university was because of her. I have now written a book and am going to dedicate it to her as a thank you. She knows I thought she was a brilliant teacher. Should I leave it at that? Part of me wants her to know that I wished she'd been my mother and that the fact I've come out of my childhood ok (unlike my sister) is to a great extent because of her steady kindness. Or is that too much and liable to embarrass us both? The mother figure stuff would be a private message, not part of the dedication. i do realise that that would be too much!

ohfourfoxache Wed 20-Sep-17 01:56:22

Perhaps the question you need to ask yourself is "am I going to regret it if I don't say anything?"

Personally I would tell her I think. If I had an impact like that on anyone I'd want to know, if nothing else then to give them a big hug blush

Kuriusoranj Wed 20-Sep-17 01:59:07

Personally, I don't think there's enough human connection in life. I get that people have different levels of privacy and embarrassment and so on, but surely most of us would be glad to hear that we meant something profound to another human being? You're not asking her for anything and you don't have to gush. Just let her know that she did some good on her journey. Isn't that all most of us want to know?

Do it, do it now before you lose your nerve and the chance to say thank you. Just send her a note or a card or something telling her how important her support was.

And well done for coming so far from such a rocky start!

user327854831 Wed 20-Sep-17 02:02:39

Yes, tell her. And well done.

highinthesky Wed 20-Sep-17 02:09:39

I think it would be a lovely gesture. This teacher clearly made an impact on you and there's no shame in the accreditation.

tombstoneteeth Wed 20-Sep-17 02:10:59

My brother realised, in his 40s, what wonderful teachers he had had at senior school. He decided to look them up and thank them all personally. They were so touched, and one became a firm friend. He even flew across the world to my brother's funeral. I think it's a lovely idea.

Iloveporkpies Wed 20-Sep-17 02:14:50

I definitely think you should! I was home schooled for the last years of high school and my tutors helped me achieve what I, and other thought I would never do. I often think of them and wish I'd wrote to them to thank them or even realised at the time how much they helped me.
There is not enough love in the world.
Well done flowers x

devonbookworm Wed 20-Sep-17 02:37:15

Thank you all for such lovely messages. That's a very touching story about your brother tombstone. Shit - looks like I'll be telling her - I feel really nervous now. I haven't done amazingly well - the book sounds much grander than it really is (my mother, unsurprisingly, has already pointed out that it's hardly a bestseller and nobody will read it - this just makes me laugh now, but she is actually right!) It does at least provide me with a way of thanking her, but I half wanted her to know that it was more than her teaching of that particular subject and half felt really shy and gauche about it. But you're all right and fourfoxache put it well - if something happened to her, and I hadn't said it, I probably would regret it. She lives hundreds of miles away, and it was thirty years ago, so she's unlikely to worry that I'm going to start appearing at her door. Thanks again for replying so kindly.
(I'm glad your home-edding worked out so well porkpies - maybe it's not too late to tell your tutors they were great too! We could start a trend of telling teachers how fab they are - it might make a nice change for them!)

pontynan Wed 20-Sep-17 02:42:30

Go for it! As a former teacher I promise you that will mean a lot to her. A teacher's 'success' is increasingly measured in exam results, pupils attainment levels, performance indicators, benchmarks and a whole lot of other bollocks bureaucratic measuring tools. Every year I was given a print out of my pupils results against targets. When I retired they were the first things in the bin. But I have a special box in which I have kept every single thank you letter that former pupils have sent to me along with keepsakes such as their graduation pictures, wedding photos etc. They always make me smile and bring back the best of memories - and more than any exam results or performance appraisal interviews they make me think that occasionally I might have got something right.

devonbookworm Wed 20-Sep-17 02:53:42

You sound a lovely teacher to have had all those keepsakes etc pontynan! I think I will - as kurius and foxache say, if I don't and lose the chance, I would wish I had. I will write out a hundred times 'I must not gush' beforehand though . . .

AbsentmindedWoman Wed 20-Sep-17 02:56:25

Do it! This person had a profound effect on who you are as a human being. Human connections like this are what it's all about, they are what make all the hard parts of being a human worthwhile.

Congratulations on your book, also smile

AbsentmindedWoman Wed 20-Sep-17 02:57:09

Okay I said 'human' way too many times but you know what I mean I hope grin

devonbookworm Wed 20-Sep-17 03:12:49

I do know what you mean!! And if you're going to repeat a word, human is a pretty good one to choose. Thank you.

PeaceAndLove1 Wed 20-Sep-17 03:31:56

I agree, in saying how you feel, human love and connection, that's the most important thing I believe. Well done on your book too!

AnnaFiveTowns Wed 20-Sep-17 04:11:13

Tell her.

lljkk Wed 20-Sep-17 04:41:20

She probably knows already, OP.

fizzandchips Wed 20-Sep-17 04:55:38

Do tell her.

BaconAndBees Wed 20-Sep-17 04:57:35

Do it! Well done

TiesThatBindMe Wed 20-Sep-17 05:03:50

I'm going to wade against the tide, but for your sake only. I have experience of acknowledging someone other than my mother by giving them a very intimate role and the repercussions have been life-long.
Be careful also of being seen to 'air your dirty linen in public'. A lot of people can read into what is not said rather than what is said.

JWrecks Wed 20-Sep-17 06:01:07

Do. Please do. She will appreciate it, especially after all these years.

Teaching can be such a hard, stressful, and thankless job that many teachers wonder why they do it every day. To know that, even after all these years, you still think of her and feel her influence in your life, and still appreciate her, could only warm her heart.

I can't think of any reason not to do it.

MysteryMacavity Wed 20-Sep-17 06:18:41

I would also do it.

And as someone who has a similar, not same, background, I wanted to add that the feelings of not wanting to be needy or attention-seeking are very familiar. They make me question how I respond to good things in my life, in a similar way to you not wanting to gush.

However, I'd say don't censor yourself, just be genuine.

And don't expect any kind of response - good or bad. That way you protect yourself from any kind of disappointment: she's been so important to you but that doesn't mean she's an imperfect human. On the of-chance she doesn't respond or doesn't respond in quite the way you think might happen (because I'm betting you have at least one idea of how she'd respond, even if it's just to say Thank You), you'll have done a really nice thing by telling her.

TurtleCavalryIsSeriousShit Wed 20-Sep-17 06:26:03

When I was 17 my mother let my boyfriend at the time live with us for about a year. Years later he is super successful in his chosen field and have written books.

He came to thank my mum last year for being so good to him at an important time in his life.

My mum was (is) an ordinary hard-working person, just trying to do right by her children and the people around us. She got a lot of flak at the time for letting him stay.

Although she always knew it was the right decision, the acknowledgement from him has meant a lot.

Do it. Seriously.

whitehandledkitchenknife Wed 20-Sep-17 06:41:55

Do it Devon. Speak from your heart, simply and straight. It will mean a lot to her.
Well done.

happystory Wed 20-Sep-17 06:47:20

I really think you should do it, you'll regret it if not. I can't see how it could be taken in any other way than the way you intend it. But sad for you about your mother's comments about your achievement.

yorkshireyummymummy Wed 20-Sep-17 07:21:36

I think it's a lovely idea to tell her.
Imagine being told that you made a big, positive impact on somebody's life at a time when they needed somebody to care and twenty/ thirty however any years later they contact you to say thank you.
If I was a teacher I dont think you could ever get a better validation than that.
And I also think we don't tell people enough nice things. Whenever I go out if I see a woman whose hair looks lovely or who has dressed beautifully ( or has a lovely well behaved kid, or served me particularly well or whatever) I make a point to tell them.
I thanked the man who runs a stall on our local market last week. I just thanked him for running such a good stall. His eyes filled with tears, he got hold of my hand and thanked me , telling me I had no idea how much that meant to him as all people usually do is complain.
A little thing can make a big difference to somebody and in all of the years I have been doing it nobody has ever given me a funny look or said fuck off you wierdo. Isn't it just time we were nicer to each other?

So OP- do it. You won't regret doing it. And your ex teacher will feel wonderful!

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