Monday, October 12, 2009


This morning my niece and all of Heather Christensen's students got up, put on their Sunday best and went to band class.  

But Heather wasn't there.  

And she won't ever be there again.   

And yet she will always be there.  

That's how life works. 

The thing about remembering is that you don't forget. 

Remembering makes the past present. 

Thank goodness 'til death do us part doesn't apply to the heart.  

You wanna hear a chicken skin story:  

Heather Christensen was my niece's woodwind teacher and musical theater director. On Saturday night she died in a bus accident. 

On Sunday morning my sister woke up and opened her email -- 

This is the chicken skin part.

Sitting in her in-box was a message from Heather telling her to "have a SUPER day!" 

How poignant is that? 

Her last wish for my sister was that she have a SUPER day! 

Talk about goose bumps. 

Everyone is sharing their stories right now because stories are what help you remember.  

My favorite Heather story is that she always read Dr. Seuss' Oh The Places You'll Go--the last book Dr. Seuss published before his death--to all of her graduating students. 

Wouldn't it be cool if all of her graduating students returned the favor and read Dr. Seuss to her?  

That's what I would do if I were one of her graduating students. 

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Today is your day! 

Your mountain is waiting.
So . . . get on your way!

Happy Graduation, Heather!  May you forever have a SUPER day! 

For the full text of Oh The Places You'll Go click here.


Annette Lyon said...

Heather taught my daughter clarinet last year in the elementary band. She went to the public remembrance last night. It's really amazing how many people's lives she touched.

Amanda said...

she sounds amazing! I'm glad she was so loved and appreciated. She is a real hero, how lucky all those students are.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

This is an amazing post! Oh Crash, you sure know how to get the waterworks going!

Martha said...

Sorry for your sis and niece. She sounds like a great lady.

Mariko said...

So I'm not a dummy anymore. Thanks for clarifying.
I just found out two seconds ago that this is the same girl that Jake's brother was mourning yesterday. I guess he knew her pretty well. And Jake's sister too.

April said...

Every student needs a teacher like this, to inspire them, to make them reach for the stars, to be better. I hope this will inspire her students to move mountains. She certainly did.

T said...

love it... I think I have a little "eye slobber" (as my daughter calls it) over this one!

DeNae said...

What a sad, sad story. It has helped to remind me, though, that teachers - even we music teachers - can make a difference in a lot of lives. I'm so sorry this lovely woman had to die to remind me of that.

Rebecca said...

Yes, the email was very poignant, however, your post in honor was even more poignant in my book. It definitely brought tears to my eyes. I hope someone thinks to read the Dr. Seuss at her funeral, it would be so very appropriate.
Lots of Love,
Rebecca Goodwin-McConnell

Amber Lynae said...

When I travel home there are two teachers I always visit. My band and chorus teachers. They have had a huge impact on my life. Especially my chorus teacher.

Crash thank your for sharing your story about Heather. I too hope she is having a SUPER day. And you and all your readers as well.