Thursday, March 14, 2013

Goodbye, Sharon

My friend, Sharon Krause, went to be with Jesus yesterday after a long battle with a brain tumor. When I first began teaching she taught preschool at our school. That job turned into preschool director and director of before and after school care. Then she switched to school secretary. She was sad to leave the teaching job, but knew her talents could be used as school secretary. Our headmaster came the same time as I did and the headmaster and Sharon were the only ones still there when I left 6 1/2 years later, all the other teachers left for different jobs.
She was the best preschool teacher I have ever seen. She totally "got" what we were trying to do with classical Lutheran education even though she often did not get to go to the training that the older grade teachers went to. She did her best to give them a foundation in preschool so when the other teachers got them in later grades they were ready. She taught them how to hold a pencil and write their letters and learn their phonics sounds. She taught them about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and other history. She had pets in the classroom to teach them science. The preschool students that stayed all day (there was daycare for those that wanted it) were the best behaved in the cafeteria for lunch. She did this all lovingly and freely gave hugs to those inner city kids when they needed it.
She knew how to run the before and after school care too. Along with her husband and son they got a chess team going for our school. She kept the kids busy while they were in her room, not just waste time until parents picked them up.
She was also the best school secretary I've ever seen. She definitely was not on the clock 9-5, she put in many more hours all year. If one of my students was sick she would drop everything to call the parents. She didn't have much money, but she knew how to give "treats" to all the teachers which were things she could do for us or make us, not things we could buy. She dealt with students, parents, teachers, and pastors all at the same time.
When my dad was in a car accident she took the message, waited until school was out so I wasn't in front of the students, and then came directly and talked to me calmly and told me I needed to keep myself together and directly leave to pick up my dad. My dad was fine, but if she hadn't given me the message calmly I wouldn't have been so calm.
After she had the brain tumor I tried to make sure I saw her on each visit to Fort Wayne. One of the first visits I wasn't sure how she would be after many treatments. She tried to stay cheerful even though the drugs caused nausea and lack of appetite. She spoke slowly, but reminded me to do things like "Ask Lamb 1 if he would like to wear the red shirt or the green shirt" to teach him the colors. She helped me remember how to sing a song I knew she sang with her class. She was teaching the next generation (my Lambs) even while she was recovering from treatments.
At our last visit last summer, she reminded me that her doctor had told her it wasn't a question of if her brain tumor would return, just a question of when. I told her to use her remaining time to enjoy her new grandson. I am so thankful that we made the long drive to Fort Wayne last summer and that I was able to see her one more time.
At our school we had a tradition for when teachers left (mostly at the end of the school year for those that did not return the next school year). All the students would gather around the teacher and sing this hymn together that the students had memorized. I know this seems like an odd choice to put here in an "obituary". She left school the last time in an ambulance right before her brain tumor diagnosis. She never had the students gather around her and sing this. This is our prayer so that we can see her again some day too. We only sang verse 1 during this tradition, but I will include verse 3 too.

Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word; 
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son
And bring to naught all He has done. 

O Comforter of priceless worth, 
Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life. Amen.
LSB 655:1,3 

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