I made a lot of great friends at college, especially with other English majors. Misery loves company, n’est-ce pas? When you are agonizing over translating Old English, trying to come up with the most profound literary interpretation in order to impress your professor or writing complicated lesson plans that are so idealistic that they have no chance of ever working in a real high school classroom, it is helpful to have a group of people who understand the agony and the ecstasy of devoting one’s life to lit-tra-ture. Or, as other majors might interpret it, those of us who are foolish enough to major in something that typically requires you to become a teacher or go to graduate school in order to find gainful employment.
I was particularly close with the English majors in the teacher prep program since we had a lot of classes together, particularly Katie and Angela. Katie and I were friends. Angela and Katie were friends, so as these things go, Angela and I became friends since we both hung out with Katie. Katie decided she didn’t want to teach as we were preparing to student teach. Angela and I both completed student teaching, but I decided after graduation that I didn’t want to teach either. Of the three of us, Angela is the only one who stayed in teaching. This Fall, she started her 14th year as a high school English teacher in Wake County.
Late last night, Katie texted me to tell me that Angela had a severe stroke and was in the hospital. She was awake and alert, but the stroke had damaged 1/3 of her brain, and she has lost the ability to speak and has no function on the right side of her body.
I am stunned, and I can’t stop thinking about her and this tragedy today. Along with her family, teaching was everything to Angela, and it looks like her career is, if not over, in serious jeopardy. Going to school part-time, she completed a Master’s degree a few years ago and had achieved National Board Certification as well. She is a great teacher, the kind of teacher our schools desperately need more of.
I’m just having a hard time fathoming this tragedy. One minute she’s fine; the next minute, her life has changed forever. It’s something you don’t think will happen to people in your age group. Strokes are for older people, not people in their late 30s.
Angela, I’m thinking of you and sending every bit of strength I can your way. Your Meredith family is thinking of you as well. You have a long road ahead of you, but I know you and how stubborn you are. I have no doubt you will fight and persevere.
If you can, please send any good wishes and prayers her way. This is the season of miracles and if anyone could use one and deserves one, it is Angela.