They say we die twice — once when our bodies give out, and again the last time our name is spoken aloud.
My high school English teacher was the first woman I had ever heard go by the title “Ms.” I was a high school freshman in 1979, in a small mill town in southern Maine. Ms. Sullivan was tall, angular, smart, independent, kind of cranky, and gave no f$&ks — I loved her.
I think we all giggled about the term “Ms.” when we were arrived from Junior High. And here I am, all these years later, remembering and writing about her. And yes, I said her name aloud as I wrote.
Several months ago I went searching for her contact information so I could thank her for being a thought leader to me. I’ve been a marching activist for 30 years, with her to thank. I learned that she was active in the state teachers’ union, and that she did some community service related to her love of literature. I also learned another thing.
I was too late.
I would love to have asked her the back story about her early adoption of “Ms.”
Who do you hold in high esteem?
A mentor? Grandparent? Chill and steady Uncle Bill, who taught you to parallel park? A moms night out “colleague” who has been listening, laughing, and struggling along beside you for the last 8 years?
Want a gift of honor to commemorate a loved one and their impact on you? I have just the thing! Gather some folks to discuss a great photo that captures your feelings. It might be the person, the school, that old Plymouth that . Uncle Bill taught you to park. We’ll meet online to discuss it, and I’ll add your comments to a glossy keepsake photo print. Examples and details are HERE.
Or spend time getting to know your elders with this FREE list of 5 prompts to help the conversation flow. It’s a great way to bond, re-bond, or hold space for someone as they remember. If you use the questions, I’d love to know how it goes!