I graduated tonight.
Those of you who know me well, know I've done that before with a BA, a BS and an MA. I confess that my first degree at 21 was earned by a lick and a prayer, as I was far more interested in the people around me than the course work. It wasn't until my 40's that I discovered that being an eternal student would appeal to me, if I had enough resources so as not to have to work. Since that is not possible, I spend my days playing multiple roles with adolescents. It's a privilege.
When I finally matured enough to appreciate learning I did well, graduating with honors. In my Masters program, I would have had a perfect score, except that one semester I talked the prof into giving me an A- instead of an A, by trying to be truthful in a self- assessment. Misty Jobe did the program with me, and still cracks up at that. Hey I was just being honest!
Why am I reliving my hard work and success with you tonight? Because nothing, NOTHING has ever been more challenging than the work I did in grief counseling since last summer. I was referred to the most wonderful woman who had experienced the loss I did at one time in her life. I came in "all about it", convinced I was doing pretty damn well considering. She broke through the bullshit. I was playing learned tapes of pretending to be " fine" . I don't need this. I am woman, hear me roar! Remember! No car salesman is gonna mess with me!
Except I wasn't. I carried a massive weight of guilt around over not saving his life that night. This is not news to any of you who have followed my blog.
I discovered there was no freaking way around it, but to just go through it. Right down the dark center.
And that's what I've done, as you have been witness to. And guess what...I came out the other side. I didn't wake up miraculously one day and realize I was there. My therapist helped me see that change is going from one status to another- e.g. married to widow. Transition is embracing that change and creating a new path while you are still alive. I am embracing my new life right now. There is peace.
Does this mean I don't cry or feel sad or miss him? Of course not. Yesterday I deleted his gmail account after making sure I waited long enough in case there were auto payments or old friends of his who wanted to make contact. It was time. When "account deleted" popped up, I choked up. I needed a hug from my friend Chris. But that's ok! My tears of desperation and raw grief have changed. Now they are tears of gratitude and love for the journey we had together. What a gift to my life Glenn Evans Derby was.
But he is gone from this world. Forever. I finally believe it and I'm really okay with it, because he is safe, happy and loved. This I know. I've learned so much since June 16th. I now live life on a higher, gentler plane. I find myself being able to sort through what are the "earthly" problems that aren't worth so much angst, and the things that really matter on this journey; peace, kindness and love for those who are walking with us. And gratitude. Such gratitude.
And so, at 6:00 tonight, she asked me what I wanted to do. I said I would call her if I needed her. She expressed joy at having been present for this part of the journey. As I left her, I gave her a hug and wished her many blessings.
Then I flipped the tassel on my mortarboard and walked out, on the journey.