I'm afraid I've been selfish and disrespectful.(22 Posts)
This is something that keeps coming back to haunt me and I can't think of a more appropriate place to ask about it. Please forgive me if I offend further with my navel gazing.
A few years ago a recently ex-student (secondary school) died at the end of the summer holidays. At the time I was going through a second round of IVF which, two days before the start of term, we learned had resulted in no viable embryos, thus effectively ending our chances as we couldn't afford to find ourselves.
I learned the news of the death of our student when I got to school on the first day of term. A few minutes later during staff briefing we remembered him in silence. The shock of it was appalling, and along with my own position given that I had been pumped full of hormones and was due to have been implanted that day, I left quietly before I broke down loudly.
It often occurs to me that my leaving was massively disrespectful to our student. I had just a moment to consider it and I feel like I should have stayed. I wish I could have been stronger but I couldn't have contained my grief at that point.
Following this life became very very difficult for a while. It was the start of a period of misery.
I don't know what I'm asking for here. I just want someone to know that I didn't intend to disrespect the memory of our student. He was a fabulous character and we remember him fondly. I feel tremendously ashamed and sorry to have made that moment about me.
Better still, I'm not sure you need anything in terms of thoughts from others. This is just so you know you have been heard.
You weren't disrespecting his memory - you were overcome, quite understandably, given the circumstances.
Perhaps you could write to his parents with some lovely memories of him?
I'm so sorry you're going through this. FWIW I don't think you were disrespectful at all, in fact leaving the room was specifically NOT to make it "all about you".
I think you're tormenting yourself unnecessarily, I'm absolutely certain that none of your colleagues would be thinking anything negative.
Please be kind to yourself.
I don't think you've been selfish or disrespectful, just human.
Please don't be so hard on yourself.
Oh wow you really need to let this one go. You were under considerable stress. You really have done nothing wrong.
I agree with all Pps
Your news was a bereavement too and it's totally understandable you were overwhelmed.
You have not been selfish at all, as others have said please be kind to yourself. Someone passing away, even if you didn't have a very close relationship with them, coupled with what you were going through with IVF reminds you that life is precious.
Gosh OP, you don't need to carry this burden any further.
As someone has said, leaving quietly was the right thing to do.
We all have these times of real raw emotion and you can't control when it hits or what triggers it.
Could you visit his memorial and perhaps spend some time thinking about him or talking to him about how you feel if you think it would help bring closure?
Aw don't add this to your troubles. No did absolutely nothing that isn't understandable, hell, that isn't to be expected. You've explained it all so well, in your head you know you didn't do anything wrong. You're grieving for your own loss as well and going through the guilt stage. Try to give yourself a break.
Thank you very very much for helping me to get some perspective on this. In my head it's become one of those things I beat myself with when I'm reminded of him. I like the idea of getting in touch with his parents.
My school suffered a bereavement recently and it was a shock. Similarly there were a few moments silence in the staff room. Everyone was stunned so I'm not sure if anyone left, or if I would have noticed if they did, but if I did see someone leave, rather than assuming disrespect I would have thought they were overcome (as you were) and needed to be alone.
No one who noticed would have thought you were being rude. No one.
Oh you poor love
Honestly you've done nothing wrong, you did the right thing, really you did. If you can't get in touch with his parents, give a donation to an appropriate teenage charity and close the door on your torment.
Unfortunately, sometimes more than one person in a social setting has suffered a loss at the same time, and it can be difficult to process all the feelings at once. You did nothing wrong. It was not 'disrespectful' of you to feel deep distress over your own loss and you didn't cause a scene at the time. I hope things are happier for you now.
Put this to bed OP and stop dwelling on it years after the event. Your actions were not disrespectful.
Do you feel responsible for this death in some way? Why is this so important that you would keep thinking about it years later?
Betterstill - so sorry that you have been berating yourself for this for so long. As previous posters have said, you did nothing wrong. You were overwhelmed, hormonal, about to have a very overt reaction to the news - you chose to go somewhere private rather than do this in full view of all the staff. That is completely fine!
Very sorry as well that your IVF wasn't successful - that must have been very hard to deal with on its own, without the extra sadness of losing a student.
If you think it will help to lay this memory/self-flagellation to rest, then please do contact his parents - they will be touched that you still remember him after a few years, I'm sure.
And if you're still focusing on this memory so strongly, it might be an idea to seek some counselling, probably grief counselling, because (armchair psychology moment) I think you may be displacing some of your feelings about the IVF onto this event. But I might be completely wrong too.
That really doesn't sound disrespectful to me. Disrespectful would have been not turning up, or playing on your phone, or chatting. I would imagine that anyone who noticed would have thought one of three things:
A) That you were terribly upset but didn't want to upstage the family's grief and so left
B) As per above, but that you also had private reasons to be upset
C) That you were on the verge of a coughing fit/faint/similar and again didn't want to upstage people.
None of those are bad. You sound like a kind, caring person,
You really did nothing wrong. And often one bereavement triggers memories of another bereavement. I'm sure funerals trigger memories of other losses for many people in the congregation. My DM grieved greatly for her mum (lost several years earlier) when her dad passed away. Its totally normal.
You were quiet and respectful and left. I really see nothing wrong with this.
For those who've kindly asked, things did get immeasurably better a year or so afterwards when we conceived naturally - twice!
I am habitually very hard on myself though and tend to dwell on things I've done badly, hence my shame about this. Over the years I've been teaching I know of five students who've lost their lives, and I'll always remember them. It's a shame that I associate the memory of this boy with a shitty personal time I was having but having shared that I already feel less guilty about my reaction.
Thank you all again
It was a very human response to a very sad situation, you have nothing to feel guilty about
I'm so pleased that you were able to conceive, your children are very lucky to have such a sensitive and caring mum
I'm glad you're not beating yourself up about the situation any more. I too have lost several students and it's dreadful - it has somehow skewed my sense of the world.
It's hard enough to keep a sense of perspective when a young person dies as it is, without taking your personal circumstances into consideration. For what it's worth, I keep in touch with the parents of 2 of my students, and always send them a note on their child's birthday as well as on the anniversary of their death. I understand that my anecdotal memories of their children in the classroom have given them a great deal of comfort and another insight into the personalities if their children, so if you can find an opportunity to give them a story, it will mean the world to them as it somehow keeps their child alive.
So glad your personal story has had a happy ending, and I think you did the right thing by not making it all about you.
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