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This post is dedicated to one teacher that I love very much. I hope this post will be a lesson about the real meaning of Christmas and friendship and shed some truth behind at least one person that was falsely accused of being my “insider”.

I met my best friend back in 1998. We both worked at the airport in the field of corporate aviation. We had only been friends for a very short time when I would face one of the hardest years of my life. One of the major events that happened to me that year was in May of 1999. I was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer at the age of 24. I was living on my own in Southaven and luckily did have good insurance through my employer, Kemmons Wilson. Even with insurance, the medical expenses and time off of work for 2 surgeries and over 2 months of treatment were difficult for me at that age.

I remember that Christmas wondering how I was going to pay my rent. I struggled at times to make it through work, but I did not want to lose my job. I had a boss that was NOT understanding about my situation. I did radiation treatment on my lunch hour, 5 days a week for over 2 months. I ended up with pneumonia 4 times and suffered lung issues because of the radiation treatment. I was told I would never have full range of motion on my left side. The cancer was in my back muscle, and I had a large section of it amputated in my 2nd surgery. So needless to say, I wasn’t really sure about anything. Worrying about money because you are out of sick days, worrying about loss of job and not having anyone to ask for help can be very overwhelming.

I can’t remember if there was a note on my apartment door or if the apartment complex manager called me into the office, but either way, I was told that Santa had paid my rent for me for the month of December as a Christmas present. I was IN SHOCK!! Who in the world would have done this for me or had the money to do this for me? I just cried! I asked everyone I knew if they knew anything about it, but no one seemed to know and seemed to be as shocked as I was. I felt like God was taking care of me and had blessed me with an angel or angels that Christmas.

My best friend came over to my apartment to bring me a Christmas present later in the month. She gave me a card that would solidify our connection forever. She wrote many endearing things and said that she and another dear, dear man paid my rent for me. They did not want me to be stressed about money and just wanted to give me the things that I wanted most for Christmas, no debt, financial security for the month, love and friendship! There are no words to describe what I felt at that moment.

My BFF and I had both endured a lot in 1999. She was in a major 4+ car collision that really messed her up. She broke her pelvic bone which was the most horrific pain and injury I have ever seen anyone have or be in. When she was laying in the Med after the accident, I remember her being so scared and alone. She didn’t want to bother me because I had just had one of my cancer surgeries, but she needed someone to spend the night with her at the hospital. I volunteered gladly! I sat in that chair next to her bed all night long. My brother and I spent many days and weeks looking out for her when she got home from the hospital, so her Christmas gift to me was just so touching because she too had been through so much! We had each other and that meant everything!

Over the next 15 years, we would go through a lot more together…..relationships, marriage, divorce, birth of children, job changes and more health issues for both of us. The one thing that I always know to be certain in this life is that I can always count on her when I need her the most.

Fast forward to recent times, that same BFF was a teacher at Center Hill High School. Loper accused her of being my “insider”, called her a traitor in front of all of the staff at a teachers’ meeting, got a note in her mailbox that said, “When you bite the hand that feeds you, there is a GREAT chance you will go hungry”, was bullied by Loper’s token employees and forced out of the school. She had to sit through listening to Loper tell all of the staff, “If anyone messes with my wife, I will KICK THEIR ASS”, knowing that was aimed at herself and at me because of conversations he had with her in private. Everything she had done as a teacher was erased because she was my friend.

My BFF left a career that she made a lot more money at than teaching and, she gave up much better job opportunities to be a teacher. She is a licensed Dispatcher and could work in a heart beat for FedEx or for a corporation in their corporate aviation department making WAY MORE than she did as a teacher. But she was a single Mom, who just wanted more time with her child. She was tired of feeling like she was missing out, and she knew the importance of being there for her child during these very difficult school aged years. She sacrificed a lot to become a teacher, and she ended up paying a very high price for that decision and all because she is my best friend. While others are afraid to admit they know me because they work for the district, she has never waivered.

Where she teaches now or in the future will be damn lucky to have her! Having a sister that has taught for over 10-15+ years, my friend was no stranger to teaching, the sacrifices, the struggles or the rewards. I love her so much! I love her sister and her family! There is no conspiracy between the two of us against DCS or anyone else. We are simply 2 best friends who love each other, support each other and will always be there for each other no matter what. No bad or ill will from DCS can erase a friendship like ours. It is pure and true and does NOT revolve around them. Our truth is far less sinister as they would have anyone believe.

I love you, Karen Smith Pool!!! Thank you for your years of friendship and for being one of the best people I have ever known! You will always be my Christmas miracle!!!!!!!

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