It's been two-and-a-half years in and the grief can still sneak up and surprise me in ways that I'm not expecting...
I recently decided to go back to university and do some further Post Graduate study in my career of public relations. I took a step back when Dan died unexpectedly from depression but a few months ago I started feeling ready to push myself out of my comfort zone at work.
I decided study would help sharpen my mind again while also boosting my confidence and make me feel like a more competitive candidate for higher level roles.
It's a decision that I'm excited about but also makes me very nervous. Do I have it in me? Can my widow brain cope with the challenge of learning and retaining new information in an academic environment? Will the time commitment probe to be exhausting and overwhelming? I don't know, but I feel ready to give it a go.
I'm also planning on using my sharpened skills on a project I'm working on to help the widowed community here in Australia, so I feel passionate about what I'm doing.
This week I visited the campus, which is conveniently located a few blocks from my work (I'll be studying part time while continuing to work) to collect my student ID card.
As I walked out of the student office with my freshly minted identification in my hot little hands, I felt a surge of pride in myself for having the courage to give this a go. My thoughts then immediately went to Dan and I had the strongest urge to call him and tell him what I'm doing.
My husband, Phil, used to call Valentine’s Day ‘So What Day’…romantic, huh? He thought greeting cards were a waste of trees; that buying flowers because someone told you to defeated the purpose; and that going to dinner on the big day just to eat from a limited menu and have servers anxiously awaiting your departure from the table was ridiculous. I will admit that we fought about this on a few occasions…who wants to be the only girl in the office that didn’t get flowers? Eventually we settled into our own brand of celebrating our love, both on the big day, and on the other 364 days of the year.
In the Chinese zodiac, Mike was a snake. He was born in 1953 which was the water snake. Each animal has five elements, so being that the animals recur every 12 years, if you multiply that by the five elements, the exact animal under which you were born doesn’t reappear again until you are 60.
Mike’s full-cycle water snake began February 9, 2013. He died exactly one week later. Almost to the hour, if you count that it begins on the hour of the new moon.
I’m not an astrology freak, but I do notice such things out of curiosity and interest. I happen to be a monkey, in the Chinese astrology. This year of 2016 is the year of the monkey. The fire monkey, to be exact. My birth water monkey will occur in the next cycle in 2028, when I turn 60. So when I realized the timing of this, it took on a level of grave importance to my small life. This was to be the last full cycle before my birth animal…the one which took Mike.