On my way home, I got THE phone call. One that I will never forget (and hope I never to get again). My brother, Joel-a physics and chemistry teacher at Moline High School, whom I teach with, called on my cell and asked if I had heard about Curtis. I unaware of the situation and said "no, what?" He said Curtis had fallen in his room and had been taken to the hospital. I acknowledged that I had heard the sirens as I was leaving school and noticed some unusual commotion, but there is almost always commotion at a high school, so I just kind of shrugged it off. Joel told me that Curtis was alert and active when they found him in the classroom, but now was in an induced coma and would need surgery to repair the damages. At the time, I don't think anyone knew what was going on. I am sure I made a smart a$$ comment about Curtis and his stubbornness or something about how he was trying to get out of teaching for a couple of days. I am sure I made a comment about him and a meeting with an administrator that occurred a couple of days earlier. I should note, Curtis was a great teacher. Dedicated, caring (although not on the surface), sarcastic, with high expectations of himself and his students. He challenged everyone-himself, students, peers and administrators. Did I say peers?? I pulled into the barnyard with no expectations of Curtis's health and expected to see his surly self by Thanksgiving...Christmas at the latest. I later learned from a friend of mine, a Lieutenant in the Moline Police Department, that the hospital said it was the worst head trauma they had ever seen outside of a car accident.
I had no idea what would happen the next seven months.
Today while reading (and re-reading) the blog that Curtis' wife Sarah has so eloquently put together, I learned a new word -bereft (deprived or lacking of something. Lonely and abandoned). As usual, Sarah has put into words my feelings better than I can.