Rumors of my disappearance are greatly exaggerated.
Major life changes should not be made in the first year after the loss of a spouse. In April, I found out I had been accepted to law school starting in July. I deferred due to my husband’s illness and death. I plan to attend next summer. I will graduate at 60. Cool. Conventional wisdom says I’m nuts-gone around the bend with only one oar in the water.
My life transition continued when I sent our beloved horses away to be cared for by my sister for the duration of my studies. Given the weather we’ve had recently, Arizona beats their standing in mud, snow and cold here. I spent two weeks in Tucson riding in the sun, consulting with their new vet, seeing friends and family, and setting up funds to support my equine snowbirds. Going with our hospital system to accept the Baldrige Award in DC was a great distraction as well.
People have stopped calling, sending cards and flowers, making food or inviting me to share a meal or go for a hike. Time’s up I guess, but grieving is a full time job. You make plans, but can’t do them at the last minute because you fall apart. My golf buddy came over one afternoon. I was weeping. She asked what had set me off. Waking up.
I can’t get over that people think I’ve left town. A friend called recently to say she’d been having coffee with her niece, a former student, talking about me. Someone overheard the conversation and told her I’d moved to Texas.
So often people ask me when I’ll write something for the newspaper again. My last piece was about putting my dog to sleep. It was printed the day after Earl died. The Wonder Husky went ahead to greet him. Writing is a good opportunity to say I’m still around.
Winter is toughest on those who grieve. I detest winter holidays. Calendar dates dictating you should be merry and social don’t work for me. Please be kind and remember your grieving friends. Don’t wait for them to call you if they need anything. They won’t. They can’t.
I plan on returning to Fort Fun where I’ve lived forty years. It just won’t be to the historic home we rented from Earl’s mother. I’ll find a horse property that is next to a natural area instead of a drunken student neighborhood. I’m still a veterinarian (newly licensed in Texas,) the first one ever admitted to my law school. I’ll have a newly minted JD, and who knows, I might even become a brand inspector just for fun.