I had no idea the Ontario College of Teachers was such a great resource for parents

This post is sponsored by the Ontario College of Teachers. Thank you, teachers!

On the first day of school, each September, crowds of parents and children gather in the schoolyard. At our school, they shuffle along, peering at class lists taped to the brick wall until they find their child’s name.

They breathe a collective sigh of relief. They are in the right spot. The child has found her class.

But it only lasts a moment.

“What have you heard about her?” they whisper to one another. Well, Isabella’s sister had her two years ago and there was a lot of homework. But Max’s mom says she heard that the kids really learn their stuff in her class.

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In case you need another reminder of how precious life is. RIP, Adam.

Adam and CherAdam Gilbert, as a groomsman at my wedding in 2002. RIP, you beautiful soul.

I can hear his voice behind me as I’m washing the dishes. “If you put a glass on a tea towel to dry, you know how you get all that condensation,” he said. “That doesn’t happen when you use one of these drying mats.”

It’s like something out of a soap opera. It’s like when a character who has passed away keeps appearing to a living character and passing on important life advice. Except this is no soap opera. And the memories that keep dropping before me are mostly of pleasant chit chat instead of profound admonitions.

My husband’s family unexpectedly lost a wonderful man this weekend far before his time. He left behind two children, a step-daughter, a co-parent, his own parents and step-parents, a sister, many aunts and uncles, like a million cousins, and innumerable friends. Adam radiated strength, love and joy. I never saw him without a huge grin, full of love and laughter, always happy to see you and always the first one to help out wherever he could.

Those few sentiments don’t even begin to describe how much Adam meant to so many people. And this isn’t the space for a proper eulogy anyway. But how can I write about anything else? How can I carry on with the funny little rant about feeding kids that I’d been planning to write? Or should I devise some sort of snarky numbered list designed to elicit the quick laugh, the Facebook like and the social share, but is ultimately completely forgettable? How can I do that when there’s so much to remember?

The truth is that reality hasn’t sunk in yet. I am struck again and again by the suddenness of our loss, almost as though I’m learning about it for the first time. It keeps washing over me when I least expect it: washing the dishes, brushing my teeth, on my way somewhere or during any number of mundane chores. I’m still reeling and I expect we all will be for quite some time.

And it’s not as though we really needed another reminder about how precious life is, but I guess some lessons are harder for some of us to learn. Because, for the first time, I am really feeling my own mortality. I look at my three kids and my home and the life I am still trying to build for myself and realize I need to get on top of shit, like right now. That means preparing for the worst case scenario by making sure things like life insurance and wills are up to snuff, yes.

But it also means remembering that life happens now. Plan for tomorrow, for sure, but live for today. I’ll be trying to fill my days with more love and patience and gratitude. I want to work harder, play harder, give more, love more and laugh more.

At the very least, when I wake up cranky and tired, like I did today, I’m going to try to look out the window and think, “What a beautiful day to be alive.”

But goddamned, fuckity fuck, some shit still isn’t fair.