Saying What You Mean NOW

I am reminded this week of how important it is to tell those who bring meaning to your life of the significance sooner than later.  

While my children were in elementary school, they spent many hours with the school psychologist. My daughters were one and three when I separated from my ex-husband and their early years were wrought with anger, confusion and legal battles. Ken Spalter, the Mt. Kisco Elementary School psychologist, offered my children a safe place to discuss their feelings.

My oldest daughter, Hillary, was always quite expressive, and often saddened by the dilemmas at home. Ken was always there to reassure her of the love she had at home and at school. 

In the years that my children were in grade school, I was fraught with worry thatthey would be forever scarred by the divorce. My youngest, Molly, was full of anger and often was labeled the “class bully.”  Both of my daughters were good students, but Ken recognized right away that Molly was extremely bright (and possibly bored in a traditional school setting.) It was Ken who assured me Molly would be fine, once she started the academic part of school. In kindergarten, when Molly wouldn’t take a nap, Ken sent her up to her sister’s second grade math class. She was captivated and sat still through the entire lessons. It was Ken who assured me that Molly would be the one to take care of me in my old age! Although we spent years having Molly tested, Ken was right that there was nothing wrong with her and she was probably just bored.

When Molly was graduating high school, I sent an email to Ken Spalter to let him know that both daughters were thriving. At that time, Hillary was at McGill University studying psychology and education, while Molly had been accepted to Worcester Polytechnic Institute for BioMedical Engineering. Ken wrote back to tell me he never had any doubts that my children would be successful.

In the past week, we have learned that our wonderful Dr. Ken Spalter was murdered during an attempted carjacking while visiting his first grandchild in St. Louis, Missouri.  Apparently, the accused murderer is sixteen years-old.  How tragic. We are beyond saddened.

The only sense I could make out of this tragedy was to remind my daughters how important it is that we took the time to thank Ken when Molly graduated high school. I will make sure his family sees the letter we wrote him nine years ago. I only wish he could read about them now: two highly accomplished, caring, socially conscious young women making valuable contributions to society.

RIP Ken Spalter