Excitement and warm hugs greeted Marsha Evans on her triumphant return to Saucier Elementary Friday.
"Marsha, I love you," the principal said.
The third grade teacher began her career at the school a decade ago. This is her family. Despite her numerous injuries, Evans convinced her doctor in Jackson to let her see her babies one more time.
"Come here," Evans told her class. "I missed ya'll."
"I feel absolutely wonderful," Evans said. "I feel a little dizzy and a little sleepy, but I got to hug my kids goodbye, because I've missed them. I had to see them before the summer. Because I love them very much, and I've worried about them since I've been gone."
It's a miracle Evans lived to see this moment. One month ago, her car was hit while she was trying to reach the school on Highway 49. Among her many injuries: a broken hip bone, broken ribs, partially collapsed lung, fractured skull, and bruised brain.
"I'm crying like an idiot," Evans said. "It's my brain that's making me cry."
Carly Shavers was so distraught over the accident, she had to go home that day. Friday happened to be Carly's 9th birthday. She couldn't have asked for a better present.
"She's been very close to us," Carly Shavers said with tears in her eyes. "She's a great teacher. I'm just glad she's back. She's been very good to us."
When asked what she told Mrs. Evans, Carly said, "That I love her, and I hope she comes back to school next year."
Evans hugged Carly and said, "When I come back, I'll sing the Monkey Song and whip you hard for your birthday. I promise."
"It was good. It was great," said Austan McDaniel.
"We haven't seen her in awhile and we've really missed her," said Levi Griffin.
When asked if their teacher has changed at all, Austan said, "Not really. She's still has her funny ways and everything."
Evans showed that sense of humor when she held up a cup she received as a gift and said, "I'm going to put this on my bed and say, 'Consuela, more coffee.'"
To her students, Evans is more than just their teacher. She's their best friend.
"I was crying," a girl told Evans.
"You can cry. It's okay," Evans said.
"I promised myself I wasn't going to cry," Evans said. "The doctor told me to tell everybody it's the medicine. It's my head. He says if anybody asks you, just say brain injury."
Her physical wounds are still painful.
"Ya'll pray for me," Evans told her students. "Pray for the nurses, because I'm going to drive them crazy."
Emotionally, the reunion seemed to be the best medicine.
"I love you baby," Evans told her students during a group hug. "They're the reason why I've done so well, and they're the reason why I woke up, and I'm back," Evans said.
Before they left, Evans told her children, "I promise I'll be better. I'll work really hard this summer."
Evans still has problems with double vision, short-term memory, and her lung capacity is still not 100 percent. She hopes to be discharged from Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson next week, and continue her therapy closer to home.