When I started writing blogs, more than twelve months ago now, I never would have suspected it would lead me here. First, that people would read it, and like to read it, too! Second, that I would make wonderful friends as a result of (quietly) shouting my thoughts into the great abyss of the internet! And third, that I would wind up writing a blog about a song that has a track record of making me run from a room to avoid hearing it!
I’ve always been honest in my blogs, as far as I can be anyway, and this entry is no exception.
I spoke on a podcast last summer, where I talked about a teacher who had meant a lot to me, one who is sadly no longer with us. I talked about the impact that she’d had on me as a teacher, how I carry her legacy with me as I step out into the world as a new teacher myself, hoping to have even a fraction of the sparkle she brought to the profession. This song reminds me of her so much – she would spontaneously break into singing it when prompting us to choose the correct French tense (the simple future… maybe? With a head full of Y5 maths tuition at the moment, forgive me for not having a pinpoint-accurate memory of French grammar!)
In the first year after she died, this song seemed to be everywhere. I would joke to my mum in lighter moments that she was sending it to test me, though when its appearance came in darker moments, it would leave me in tears. The optimism, lightness and sheer joy of this song epitomised everything good that I remembered of her, and I found it so hard to come to terms with the injustice of her passing that even the opening bars of this song had the power to send me fleeing a room or punching buttons on the radio to hear absolutely anything else.
I’m not writing for sympathy – much to the contrary, as shortly I’ll be making an about turn to follow the example of Doris Day’s innocent optimism myself! I’m writing honestly because that’s what I do, and because we don’t talk about grief enough. It hits all of us at one time or another, and yet we bury it away, suffer it silently and alone, and try to hide it from others if it happens to burst from its box outside the privacy of one’s own home.
Just to make it super clear – it is totally normal to grieve in your own way. You do you, you remember your people in your own way. But you don’t have to do it on your own.
Almost six years down the line, this song still conjures strong emotions for me, though usually they’re not the kind accompanied by tears anymore! These days, Que Sera Sera sits on a playlist I hold dear, one that is made up of cozy, old-timey tunes. Tulips from Amsterdam, Moonlight Sernade, et cetera. Que Sera Sera sits proudly alongside the others, and like the others, I sometimes skip it, but sometimes too I take in all two minutes of the song and let it envelop me like a hug, or a quiet nod of acknowledgement.
Because I’m not the same girl who would flee a room or rush to switch to another radio station, anymore. In November 2015, I didn’t need one more reason to feel crushed by emotions I couldn’t keep a lid on. But in May 2021, I have grown up considerably, come to terms with my anxiety, managed that side-order of grief and learned to live with it too (no matter what anyone tells you, it’s okay for it to never leave you!) A long way from enduring A-level lessons where I couldn’t say a word, I now tutor up to seven groups of children a day, or tutor three groups in a morning then move on to supply work of an afternoon. I have to keep talking, and most days that simple act doesn’t have even a fraction of the difficulty it once had.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll be familiar with my struggle to find classroom work again, after losing out on an opportunity at my NQT school. So many on twitter too became invested in my optimistic tweets about new applications, and comiserated with me and supported me when rejections started to pile up. Que Sera Sera seemed insincere after a while: it was so easy for people to say that the right school would find me, of course they were only saying ‘your time will come’ to try and make me feel better, because it couldn’t be true, could it? I didn’t think the lyric ‘Whatever will be, will be // The future’s not ours to see’ had any relevance to me whatsoever. I was trudging along, applying for what every time seemed like it could be the right school.
And then, with cautious optimism, I threw myself into another opportunity, one that unlike all the others, paid off in spades.
This summer, I’m upping sticks, setting off for a full-time classroom teaching job at long last, and I couldn’t be happier. Moving approximately two hundred miles from home is sometimes a little scary, but to draw on some exceptional wisdom from a much-loved teacher, whatever will be, will be.