Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sad News: Kathleen Zundell

It's with a heavy heart I learned today that one of sweetest people I ever had the pleasure to meet has passed away from a long illness. Kathleen Zundell was the StoryTeller-in-Residence at the elementary school my children attend/ed. Quoting the school's principal:

"Kathleen touched the lives and hearts of children and families at our school for more than ten years, and we know that her absence will be felt across our campus."

Her connection with children, whether or not it was in a teaching environment, was indeed special. I know for a fact that my son's and daughter's outlook and fearless expression were greatly influenced by the storytelling sessions led by this inspirational woman. My third-grader will find out today when her teachers will break the news to the class. We'll be having the heart-to-heart talk with my son when he gets home from middle school. She will be missed.

Yes, this is all part of life, which my children will learn and grow from. But, it basically sucks when it's you, the parent, that gets to break the news to your child that someone they cared for has passed on. During times like these, for me, there is one poem I always seem to recall. Mary Frye's Do not stand at my grave and weep. Perhaps, it'll be a help to them and the rest of us.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.


  1. I don't envy you this task, Michael, but I know you will handle it with tact and compassion.

  2. Went better than I hoped. Each got support from their sibling. Sometimes, they surprise the heck out of their old man. Thanks, Corey.

  3. Sometimes it seems that children are at once the most vulnerable and the strongest of our species.

  4. Thank you for posting the poem. Her family misses her terribly, but there is comfort in knowing how much she meant to others.

  5. Our condolences to Kathleen's family. She touched many lives, so many of them young. And we're all better for it. Words do not do it justice. Thank you, Shirley.

  6. Tjfuote@sbcglobal.netJanuary 28, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    I just now heard the news that Kathleen has left us. Many condolences to her family, and all who were close to her during her last years. She remains a smile on our lips at the thought of her and her passions for stories for both young and not-so-young. We have all benefited from her presence here on earth. We miss you Darling !