Updated 8/13/2015 to update service times.
Update 8/12/2015: We are thankful to know that Manny has been released from the hospital. Please continue to pray for Manny, Nancy's family, and her numerous friends.
The school will be hosting a temporary memorial for Mrs. Colón in the school amphitheater. In the next couple of weeks, please feel free to drop by and write a note with chalk or leave flowers, notes, or cards. If you have a student who knew and loved Mrs. Colón, encourage them to write a note or draw a picture, then come together to drop it off to school so your child has an opportunity to say goodbye. We will leave the memorial open until school begins.
Funeral arrangements have been announced. Visitation will be held Saturday, August 15, 9-10 am at Bethel Christian Reformed Church. Interment will follow at 10 am at Churchill Cemetary, followed by an 11:00 am memorial service at Bethel Christian Reformed Church (7693 Churchill Rd, Manhattan, MT).
Original Post, 8/11/2015: Last night we received news that Nancy Kamerman Colón, our second grade teacher, passed away as a result of an automobile accident near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She and her husband, Manny, were returning from an anniversary celebration for her parents in Montana. As of this morning, Manny remains in the hospital. This is all the detail we currently know.
This morning we ask you to be in prayer for Nancy's husband Manny, and for Nancy’s family. Please pray for our staff and our students as well. Nancy was a much loved teacher and friend, and we grieve her passing.
We do not have any information regarding a memorial service for Nancy, but will make those details known when we do. We are also prayerfully seeking the Lord’s direction for who will teach our second grade class this coming year.
Following is some advice from Boni Piper, a counselor, about talking with your kids about grief and Mrs. Colón’s death:
Give as little or as much information as your child needs. Each child will be different. For some younger children, saying, "There was an accident, and Mrs Colón has passed into heaven. She won't be at school this year" will be enough. For older ones, they will need more information.
Make space for your child to grieve. It is hard for adults to make sense of this. It is harder for children who have so little experience of the world. Let them cry or be angry or just grumpy. Some children who have no reaction should be watched carefully and may need help putting their feelings into words. (You seem angry today. I wonder if you are feeling sad about Mrs Colón’s accident?) Children who were not close to Mrs C. may have no reaction and that is ok.
Kids want to move on, so let them. Allow space to grieve but don't encourage them to stay there.
Parents are the ones who can most effectively get their kids through this process. Listen! Listen! Listen! Don't do the talking, listen to their thoughts. They may have fears that this could happen to them. Or other feelings (I wish I had been better in class etc.) that we don't anticipate. We will only know this by listening, not by talking. And let them see your grief. Grief is natural and healthy. You will be modeling how to respond to death whether you want to or not. But keep aware that your child has had a different relationship with Mrs. C than you have.
I can't emphasize enough to pay attention to your child in the next few weeks. Each child is different. If you see uncontrollable grief or big changes in behavior, then let your child see a counselor that can help them. (Please contact the school office if you need a recommendation for a counselor.)