Professor of my HUM320R Class:
Vibrant and enthusiastic, carrying a bag of DVDs over his shoulder, he was never late to class.
We shared a love of film.
He taught me a million things I didn't know about movie making and adaptation.
He complimented me on the papers I handed in.
He sat with me in the hallway, catching me up on lectures I'd missed during the WIFYR days.
We walked along the carpet, discussing possible movies and source books to study for future versions of his class.
On Wednesday, June 23, he wasn't in class. It was the last day of the semester. Finals day. I sat with two other classmates until the class period ended. We walked to the Humanities Department and turned in our papers.
The next day I received an email from the department: "We are sorry to inform you that your instructor suffered a massive stroke and has been admitted to the hospital. Please reconstruct your grade by turning in all papers along with any progress reports to the department."
Another email from a classmate: "I talked to UVRMC. He is in the ICU in a coma and it doesn't look good."
I cried that day. I didn't know how much of an impact the professor had had on me. I thought of his grin, the way he would ask each of us in turn what we thought, his humorous anecdotes about movie directors and composers.
I thought about how much the world would miss him if he didn't survive. Mostly I thought about how much I would miss him. Not just because of his class (although I had planned to take it again, multiple times) but because of his impact. The human impact. This man loves film as much as I do!
I called Utah Valley Regional today. "Just checking on the status of a friend," I told them. They transferred me to IMC (Intermediate Care) and the nurse who picked up said, "Do you want to talk to him?" In my shock, I said yes. He's ALIVE! I thought.
The nurse in the room asked who I was, and when he answered the phone, I suddenly couldn't talk. I began to cry again. I told him that I had been worried about him.
"I can't hear you," he said. His voice sounded different. Slower, deeper.
He said he was trying to place me. He told me if I needed to turn in papers, I could put them in his box. I said, "I'm not worried about the class. I got an 'A'. I just wanted to check on you. I'm glad you're doing better."
"I'm doing better and better," he said. "I'm glad you liked the class."
He doesn't remember me.
But it doesn't matter.
I'm happy. He gets to keep watching movies. To keep teaching kids about the art form. To pass along his funny stories. He gets to see Inception, and Toy Story III, and the remake of Karate Kid.