Miranda’s meeting went on longer than she intended. She was late for dinner with her husband. As she gathered her things from her desk, she could not get the conversation with Mr. Jameson out of her head. Michael Jameson was the father of one of her students. Recently widowed, he’d come to Miranda more and more for help with his daughter, Caroline.
Mr. Jameson, I am not sure there’s much you can do in a situation like this. Caroline needs counseling, and if I may be so bold, I think it would be beneficial to you, as well.
Miranda remembered well the look on Michael’s face. He had the look of a lost child, unsure of the future and ashamed of the past. Miranda had tried to comfort him.
Michael, the death of your wife was not your fault.
She’d placed her hand on his. He’d gripped it as though he feared she’d pull away. Miranda was not equipped to deal with distraught adults, only young children. She smiled at him until he loosened his grip. She reached for her grade book nearby for an excuse to sever physical contact.
Now, Caroline had done well up until… Well, she was one of the top of the class. I know this has been very hard on you both, but I am afraid that if she doesn’t find a way to cope soon… If you don’t find a way to help her, she will have to be held back.
Mr. Jameson’s eyes began to water. The wild desperation in his look made Miranda angsty. She looked at the clock. This had gone on long enough. If she didn’t find a way to get him to leave soon, her husband would worry.
Mr. Jameson, I am not sure what else to say. I know you’re doing the best you can, but I don’t know if that is enough for Caroline. I have tried to help, but I am not what she needs. She needs therapy. She needs to know that her mother’s life ending does not mean that hers does, as well.
Michael had gone stiff at this. The reminder that his wife was gone and that his daughter was not coping became too much. He became angry, angry at his wife for dying, angry at his daughter for not doing well at school, angry at himself for not being able to help her, and angry at me for bringing this all up – for reminding him of his losses, his failures.
Mr. Jameson, I think it’s about time you went home to your daughter. I am not at fault here, but neither are you. You need help. You both do. And I cannot give it to you. Here is the number to the school counselor. She will have contacts for grief therapists and classes for Caroline, as well as for you. I am very sorry for your loss and hardships, Mr. Jameson, but I need to be going.
With that, Michael stood and stalked out the door. Miranda knew this would not be the last time she saw him. His inability to accept his wife’s death and the responsibility he had to his daughter made Miranda nervous. What would become of the little girl?