Once all the kids have gone to school, I did what most people around the world do; open their Facebook page. And there it was, a notice from Mel about how her father has passed away in his sleep. Mel’s dad, Mr. Donald Morton has lost his battle with leukemia yesterday…
I knew about his illness. Mel and his sister have kindly updated us on his progress, ever since they found out that he has cancer. They said that it is going to be a difficult battle but I always hope and pray he’ll be better. You see, Mr. Morton is not just Mel’s father, he’s also one of my high school teacher. I have such regards to my teachers, especially now I am one and Mr. Morton was among the good ones.
Mr. Morton is a kind, intelligent, passionate person. He loves teaching, he loves his students and genuinely cares about them. When you pass him in the hallways, he always have a warm smile for you and if he happens to be free, he just loves to start a conversation with you. He has such a wide knowledge, particularly history and literature. You can talk for hours with him about those two things, or until the bell rings. Which is most of the time.
I got him as my Theory of Knowledge or TOK teacher. TOK as a subject is quite strange for me because well, it is about philosophy really and that’s the last thing I want to do at the end of the day. Which is when the class was scheduled for me back then. Gosh, I can sooo feel him now; looking at blank faces staring back at him. Must be my ‘karma’ for blanking on your class eh? 🙂 But outside the classroom I have no problem whatsoever talking with him. Then I graduated, went to uni, while away my first year going to endless lectures when one day it just clicked. All the stuff he was talking about, I got it. About 2 years later I finally understood what he means. See, TOK is about philosophy, about how to process thoughts and sorting out information. Weighty stuff for ESL student, or maybe it is just me. Eventually, when your lecturers are asking you to do essays exploring this and that… So THIS is what THAT was about. I can be a bit slow at times so it seems. But hey, at least I got it eventually.
One thing that always remember about Mr. Morton is how he gently corrects my perception of motherhood. It was during one of our talks that I mentioned that my mom is ‘just a housewife.’ He said,”No, your mom is not just a housewife, she’s a home maker. She created a loving and safe home for you. That’s a hard and thankless job!” That was the first time I heard of the phrase ‘home-maker’. I was so taken by that. Later, Mel would tell me that although he likes spend his time reading and thinking about things, he was also down to doing house chores like doing the dishes after dinner. From stories that Mel told me, I also thinks that he’s a romantic at heart. He’s an American, yet he decided to live and set-up roots in the Netherland because he fall in love with a Dutch lady, Mel’s mom. I think that’s romantic.
So yeah, I was stunned this morning. I sorta went into a funk thinking about my teacher, and then thinking about Mel. I so want to be in NL to hug Mel, to help her in practical way and give my respect to her dad. But alas… we are so far apart. I wish we don’t have to live so far away but c’est la vie.
Dear Mr. Morton, I hope you are in a happier place now, away from pain and hurt. We love you and you are definitely missed. Rest in peace sir, and I hope we’ll see each other again someday.
with lots of love,
Your former student.