When I am not fighting the good fight for family’s rights in death, I drive a school bus. I love the bus and it allows me to have enough free time to commit to my death work while I raise my family and care for my mom. I have a full life. I love it. On the bus I love listening to my little ones as they begin to put together ideas they have learned in school. Sometimes what they say is so thought provoking because they see things from a fresh point-of-view. I also enjoy how the bus route becomes a community. Throughout the year and year to year, the route takes on an identity and hierarchy asserts itself, and I, as the driver, must be on the top of that hierarchy or chaos reigns on the bus. The community on the bus is never stagnant. Children graduate and move on, while new younger students arrive to fill their spots. I find this all very fascinating. I have a route which I have had for years. This year, I had fewer stops than in previous years which made my mornings and afternoons easier, but also let me know that larger changes were coming. The school year progressed as it always does, but by the end of January, I began to see some changes in behavior I had not seen in a long time. Then last week one student left the route. The following day, the other kids were more chatty than they had been in long time. They let me know that more than a few would be leaving the school at the end of the year. Then it hit me. The “band was breaking up” and these kids were going through a grieving process. Luckily for them, they have a driver who knows a thing or two about grief. I was then able to read the situation for what it was—grief. Once I was able to interpret their behavior, things settled done. Children feel things deeply, but might not always be able to express them in ways adults can understand. We need to be open to what they have to tell us when they are ready to reveal their feelings. I am not a counselor on the bus, I drive them and keep them safe as best I can, but I can and do lend an ear to their concerns and they know that I listen to them. Sometimes the kindest gift we can give- is to allow people the space and time to tell us what they need to when they are ready to tell us.