This has been a week during which my world has been dominated by Biology 101. I have to smile as I type that, because I never, ever imagined I would be excited about studying biology, of all things. You have to know, my mom was a biologist and spent most of her career as a college level teacher. She’s retired now, but she was always telling me about how people “of a certain age” would come through her doors preparing for a new career, and that it was never too late for me. I always shooed her and her science aside, me of the right brain-dominated world. So I think she’s a little surprised herself that I’ve taken this leap towards a healthcare field. And something feels right about it for me, that maybe I’m finally taking a little of my mom’s advice. And it’s nice to parley with her in that very specific lingo.


DNA replication. Cell division, mitosis, and meiosis. Mitochondria, the Krebs cycle, enzymes and hormones. My brain is crammed with all kinds of stuff I never thought I would want to know…and I have 11 days, as this posts, until my actual certification program begins. So after 22 chapters of all that biology I have this much time left to study and pass the final exam online. It’s not required for the upcoming program, it’s just my own personal goal. To have completed it, passed, and earned a possible transferable credit, if I decide to pursue a further degree down the line. Because my upcoming certification program is accredited and will earn me elevated standing within various other programs at several universities. Did I ever in my life think I wanted a master’s degree? Oh my god, no. But maybe now, if I can afford it someday, I do. 


So these are all big changes for me, emotionally, and psychologically. And maybe someday as a result, and of the house situation too of course, geographically. Being in school for the next year feels like really good timing. Because if I have to move, I will just add that in to the transitional year this feels like it is. Maybe I’ll end up back with my parents until I can figure out the exact next move. I’ve even been looking into long term housesitting gigs online. A friend told me about it and I suddenly realized that might be a way to get my travel yayas out on my limited budget and give me time to study at the same time. And broaden my horizons in even other directions. But we’ll see. If a good job comes around here on the island, even if the house does indeed disappear from my world, I may stay on here for awhile with the musician and the dogs. So, yeah, limbo. But it’s all good.


And all the time, Mike is never far from my mind, or heart. He never is. When I now look at the lives of we three, myself and my two stepdaughters, probably the most deeply affected by his life and by his passing, I see so much light and positive energy. I see three people who have traveled through the deep dark abyss of grief and continued walking. Those early days…let me tell you, we just didn't think it was possible to survive it. Never in my life has anything hurt so much. Never in my life did I feel so hopeless and lost. And I know the girls suffered so much. But we are all surviving…and even flourishing. We are all three, in our own ways, I think, using our grief and what we knew and loved about Mike as roadmaps. He was such a huge influence on us, and we have each taken a part of it and used it for our own lives and possibilities. I am so proud of the girls, they have each been sources of strength and power for themselves, and for me. I see what they are both doing, and now the journey I am on, and know that somewhere, somehow, Mike is with us. He is around…and his spirit and energy is part of us and always will be. 


I sure wish he were here to talk to about it all. Of course I do. But he’s not. So I try to focus on the gratitude, for his legacy of healing, and family. My life will always be rooted in the time I got with him, and my future will be a branch off the tree of that experience. And I know he’d laugh with me, after all these years, about following Mom into the world of science. Whodathunkit. 


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  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2016-09-09 14:08:24 -0700
    Thanks Cathy. Some days it feels easier than others. But yes I’m definitely off on a new adventure. I appreciate your support, it means a lot knowing you are out there.
  • Cathy
    commented 2016-09-09 07:40:12 -0700
    Good to see you making decisions and moving forward, even if you’re not quite sure of where you’re going! And all along Mike is with you. Yes, love never ends.