Jackson's Teachers' Eulogy
As Brette mentioned we are a few of the teachers from Jackson’s Montessori school. We’ve had the honor to know Jackson, Natalia, and Bryan for the last nine months. Jackson was so dear to us all and we wanted to share a few memories of how funny, loving, and wonderful he was.
When Jackson first came to us in January he had never been in group care before and it was a big change for him. I remember when he started he always had to have something in his hands, forks and spoons were the usual choice, and he could not yet drink out of a cup. We started him out with the tiniest cup we could find and in no time he was drinking out of a regular sized cup.
He eventually moved on to wanting to carry around shoes. Jackson loved shoes, an obsession I think many of us can relate to, and he always had at least three or four pairs at school. During the summer many of the children were really into putting shoes on and off so I went to Goodwill and bought some fun toddler sized shoes and put them in a basket for the children to play and practice with. While I was buying them I thought to myself, “I wonder which one of these Jackson will choose as his shoes…” And sure enough he did pick a pair he liked the best, a pair of teddy bear slippers, even the other children called them Jackson’s slippers. I remember when I first put them out he wasn’t able to put them on by himself and would always say, “Frani or Megan, or Tia, or Paulien do it.” But then one day after he got to school he went over to the basket to find them and just put them on, I was so excited and proud for him.
He usually cried when being dropped off on the morning, he never wanted mom and dad to leave. I know how much trust it took for Bryan and Natalia to believe in us enough to know that he stopped shortly after they left and that we were taking good care of their baby. They did trust us though and we knew it. The trust that they had in us with him in our care day after day is what we work so hard to achieve.
Jackson eventually became an independent, self-sufficient, and confident little boy. He constantly made us laugh and gave us love, and even though he had become so independent, he also always wanted one of us to sit next to him and would make sure that we could hear his request all over the room. He got to a point where he didn’t want to leave in the evenings, but still never really got over the crying at drop off. I think it became a little bit of a habit, and we finally figured out what he needed to start his day with us. When he came in and after mom and dad left we would go over what would happen that day. We would say, “Remember what we do every day? First we play, then we have snack, then we go outside, then we eat lunch…etc.” He would immediately stop crying and we could continue with the day. In the last month or so one of the teachers noticed that after we would go through the day with him he would go over to one of our little mirrors and repeat it to himself. It had become his little mantra and we even heard that he would say it at home.
Bryan and Natalia please know that you are family to us and being able to see Jackson with you and how much you all love each other was a gift. Thank you so much for giving us the gift that was knowing Jackson, we will carry him always in our hearts and memories.
I would like to end with a poem, author unknown:
They say there is a reason,
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,
For no one knows the heartache,
That lies behind my smile,
No one knows how many times,
I have broken down and cried,
I want to tell you something,
So there won’t be any doubt,
You’re so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without.