It has been a few days since my last blog due to a tragic loss in our family.  I wasn’t going to write about this, but after several days of thought I felt I needed to.  One of my brother’s four daughters passed away January 2 after a two and a half year battle with breast cancer.  When she was diagnosed it was already categorized as stage 4.  Young woman in their late twenties are not suppose to have this worry, although it is becoming more common.  There’s no mandate for mammograms until a woman reaches 50…..this may have to change.

I found out so much about our amazing niece Corbin at her memorial this past weekend.  Although we knew her personality (sweet, direct, no-nonsense, smart….I could go on) what we didn’t know was the level of devotion she had as an educator.  Corbin was a truly selfless person deciding her passion was teaching kindergarten to underprivileged, non-English speaking kids in the Phoenix, AZ area.  These were kids who came to school without first having a breakfast.  For many the only real meal of the day was the hot lunch the school provided.  So first Corbin had to get these kids fed, then her passion for teaching would take hold.  And even though she didn’t speak Spanish her lessons resonated as she taught them English and all the other subjects kids learn at that young age.

The kids were the easy part….the parents not so much.  Most parents did not speak English, did not spend the time preparing their kids for the start of school like more fortunate families.  So communicating with parents, getting through to them was the most difficult part of Corbin’s job.  But it didn’t deter her.

I could go on and on with the stories we heard last weekend about the devotion and compassion Corbin had for her work…..but the best description was posted by my sister on Facebook;  “My family and I have just returned from Phoenix where we attended the memorial service for my niece, Corbin Leafman, who died from breast cancer at the tender age of 31. The service was sad, funny at times, and very moving. We learned things about Corbin from her parents and sisters that I was unaware of, things that make me want to be a better person.”   

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