So the funeral was over, the ashes safely home and now I had to figure out what came next. The truth is I didn’t want to know what came next. I wanted to bury my head under my pillow, pull the blankets up and never come out again. But I couldn’t. I had to get up everyday because I had to take care of my daughter. My daughter, beautiful, smart, and hurting just like me. The trouble was I didn’t know what to do to help her, I couldn’t even help myself. So I flung myself back into school. I was student teaching and I was damned if I wasn’t going to finish. I thoughtlessly pushed my daughter onto a babysitter and signed her up to ride the bus to and from pre-school. I felt horrible about it, but I had to finish school and nothing was going to stop me. I can’t really explain the need to finish, all I can say is that I felt if I put school on pause I would die. I would just wallow in my bed, hope that the pain would kill me or just go away. But I couldn’t do that. I had to get up, had to take care of my baby girl even if I wasn’t sure how. So I did they only thing I could think of I held on to my student teaching with a death grip. My advisor did everything she could think to get me to change my mind. It seemed to me that she made everything twice as hard as necessary. She complained about things I couldn’t fix, made me start over and attempted to talk my cooperating teacher into having me leave the program. I felt she was being a complete and utter bitch. I couldn’t let her win, I had to prevail, I had to stay. I worked as hard as my confused and muddled brain would allow. My grandmother died that April but I kept going. I was numb, but I did laugh now and again so that people would know I was still alive. I kept working and working and I passed my student teaching with a grade of “C”. I was so angry! A “C”! I busted my butt to finish! She gave me a “C”. I had to accept it and move on. I haven’t had much luck finding a job with that grade, but at least I passed. I had made it and I wasn’t going to let that damned supervisor bring me down by giving me a “C”. I had done it despite her unhelpful manner of trying to help. I owe a lot to my cooperating teacher. She stood by me even at my worst and helped me through. In all honesty I may have deserved the “C”. I probably could have gotten a better grade if I had taken the break and started again in the fall. Again, I cannot explain the drive to finish, I just knew I had to finish no matter what. Over the summer I kept driving myself. I completed my masters thesis and dealt with another blow.
On June 25th, 2011 my Dad died. I had just begun to feel as though my head was above water and I was knocked under again. My husband, my grandmother, and now my father. Life had handed me a huge basket of lemons and absolutely no sugar to make lemonade. I didn’t know what to do. My brother, sister, and I planned the funeral and tried to deal with the aftermath. Life really sucked at that point. But I was still alive and I had to keep going. June and July passed and August rolled around. Time to plan my daughter’s 5th birthday party. Her first without her Daddy. I think it went okay, but I honestly don’t remember much of it. After awhile I realized that I needed help dealing with the emotions that I kept trying to stuff down. This was only resulting in bouts of anger and crying spats in the car. I had had a few weeks with a therapist as part of my being able to continue with school, but it obviously hadn’t been enough. I started Grief Share with my sister-in-law. I was a little nervous starting this with her, I wasn’t sure if I would be as honest with somebody I knew there with me. I felt that I had to be strong. I don’t know why, I had so many friends and family willing to stand by and help me out if I needed to be weak. If there was any time to be weak this was it! The Grief Share actually seemed to help. I looked forward to the weekly meetings, I looked forward to spending time with Tara and her family. I needed to hold on to my Justin and learn how to grieve for the loss of him and my father and grandmother. There were so many firsts that were so hard to get through. All of the holidays, Anastasia’s birthday, my birthday, Justin’s birthday, my dad’s birthday and my grandmother’s birthday. Then of course the first year anniversaries of their deaths. Still haven’t had my dad’s yet but it is only a few weeks away. My wedding anniversary was the hardest. The year before he died, Justin and I both forgot our anniversary. To realize that we would never have another chance to celebrate was devastating. But I made it through them all and I am still here. I am still trying to do the best I can with my daughter and I am still trying to figure out how to live without the other half of myself…I am beginning to think it might be possible, maybe.