But, what's so special about my copy? Its previous owner was my student Erin, who passed away July 19, 2014, just a month after graduating high school. In the memorial post I wrote last year (which shows who Erin was a bit better), I mentioned the last book she ever recommended to me, and probably among the last she ever read, was Hyperbole and a Half. She wanted me to read a specific story from it, which I did before she came back for her book right before graduation.
Just over a month later, the day of her funeral, Erin's parents gave me her copy of Hyperbole and a Half. I can't begin to explain the tumult of emotion. What extreme thoughtfulness at such a horrible time and how much and how deeply it touched my heart that they would think of me and understand what their daughter had meant to me. As a teacher, you typically expect not to see most students again, but it's mitigated by the fact that you know they are out there somewhere and that hopefully you are a forever piece of who they are, no matter how small. Erin was one of those special people who turned this around - she is forever a piece of who I am. I proudly keep this book nearby to recall her smile and energy. Her senior picture sits in the pencil carousel on my school desk, a daily reminder to reach out and make the most of my time with students while I'm blessed with the opportunity.
As for the book? I kept it at my bedside the entire past year, waiting for this July to roll around so I could read it in her memory. I loved it. The truly great part about THIS book being my last memory with Erin is that her personality is all through it. It speaks to her contagious spirit, humor, wit, laughter, and energy. Her love for making life simple and fun.