Our school secretary died today.
I've known her almost twenty years, since I was a sophomore in high school and she subbed in my Spanish class. As a student, I hated having her as a sub, because she made us do our work; as a teacher, I would have requested her every single time.
By the time I'd graduated from college, she'd become the principal's secretary, and by the time I returned to Randomville for the second time, she'd become the heartbeat of the school.
She was the first person I saw in the morning and the last I saw in the afternoon. She called me Baby and Sweetie and Sugar, and she made me laugh every single day.
She driving across the state, on her way to see her grandchildren, when she keeled over. It was sudden, quiet, no warning. Her death was announced in an emergency meeting immediately after the students were dismissed. Our gasps of shock gave way to tears, and we left the library quietly, in clusters. Dazed.
I don't know how we're going to function without her.