December 2, 2012 by Lisa Lou
Among my friends, it is a very well-known fact that I cannot and do not watch sad movies or television, and I cannot and do not read sad books. I find no enjoyment nor entertainment in the practice of making myself bawl over true accounts of people’s suffering, or worse, fictional accounts of the same. I’m of the belief that all works of fiction should have a happily ever after. Life holds enough suffering and tragedy without adding misery to the make-believe world.
When I was 7 years old, I received, for my birthday, a piano. I started lessons and with about as much discipline as I show in all my pursuits, I quickly fizzled out and played when I felt like it and never practiced like I should. Shortly thereafter I was old enough to enter the elementary school band. I’d decided I wanted to play the clarinet. Our music teacher had a love of music that was contagious. She prodded and pushed me, reminding me that those who can play piano can play any instrument. Always a smile and a true love of her subject, she never got angry. She wanted me to learn to love it as she did.
While I would like to tell you that she turned me into a disciplined clarinet player, I cannot. I gave up early on, though her guidance turned me into a much better piano player and a much more studied reader of music. She taught me to love classical music, which I do to this day, and even gave me an appreciation for Christmas music, not an easy undertaking, let me tell you.
Shortly after our spring concert last year, I ran into Ms. Sitler, who is still the elementary music teacher, while I was at the school doing something for the PTO. I told her that it amazes me how she can take students in the 5th grade who have never touched an instrument and have them playing so well by the concert in the spring. I am glad I had that chance to speak with her and be reminded of her dedication to teaching and her real love of music.
It breaks my heart to have been told that this morning while attending the church where she was the organist, Ms. Sitler was shot to death by her ex-husband. He, too, is a teacher in a nearby school. What a senseless tragedy. How heartbreaking for those who knew and loved her.
I’ve never understood these kinds of attacks. Clearly, those who carry them out have at least some form of mental illness. How else could they be so cruel? Why? Isn’t that what it comes down to? If he wanted to punish her he’s hardly succeeded at his task. It is not Ms. Sitler who now suffers, it is her family, and her students, and her co-workers and her former students. It is those who looked up to her and those that she mentored, it is the people, and there are many, with whom she succeeded in sharing her passion for music, that are now in pain. In one act of selfishness this man has harmed many, many people, and his intended victim is not on the list.
Those who are left behind are the only ones who suffer. I am told that Ms. Sitler was a believer in Jesus Christ. Therefore, I will think of her dwelling in heaven. I will think of her resting in peace and tranquility. My heart is with her family and her friends, with the teachers with whom she worked and with her students who are all so young, they cannot possibly understand the devastation this day has brought. I cannot begin to offer enough sympathy to those who knew and loved her.
Among the chief concerns I’ve seen posted on Facebook is how people are going to explain this to their children. My son received the news by phone call before I’d even heard. I have no idea how to answer his questions and he is 10. I don’t want to think of the parents of the younger students and how they will possibly explain the events that led to the death of their teacher.
I hope that with all of the sadness we can convey to our children that she was indeed a remarkable woman and that she is now singing with the angels, or more probable, accompanying them on piano. It is my hope that her memory will rise above the tragedy and that the good will overshadow the bad. Dwelling on the event itself leaves the focus on the perpetrator and takes it away from the victim. R.I.P Ms Sitler, you will be sadly missed by many.