May. 10, 2017

Taking a Break

For those who have wondered if I fell off the face of the earth, I thought I would let you know I'm taking some time off to study for my clinical licensing exam. As you can imagine, writing this blog is hard. And cramming tons of therapeutic data into a 65 year old brain is a project!! I just couldn't do both.

Butch and I had a master plan. I was on schedule to take the exam this time last year. That would give me 18 months to build up my practice, and pay off some bills so Butch could retire at 66 in December 2017. He planned to bicycle around the world with his best buddy. I would work three days a week, and we would finally have time for each other, our children, and grandaughters. We could hardly wait.

Because I specialize in trauma and addiction, I have to have it together before I can help anyone. After he died in February of 2016, it took months to go back to work and be a safe therapist. It was almost impossible to study. I passed the 90 minute ethics exam in November, 2016. Fortunately they only tell you if you passed. I would have hated to learn how low I scored.

That was followed by three long months which included every holiday, birthday, and anniversary that marked our lives together and the anniversary of his death. I was so shell shocked by the end of that, it took until the end of March to turn in my application for the 4 hour licensing exam. Their processing time is six to eight weeks before I am approved to take the test. So I'm studying now, hoping for a miracle that will enable me to pass.

The hardest part is that this was our dream together. He was there on the first day of junior college and at every graduation. He cheered me on for every final and called to see how I did after it was over. He supported my dreams when I might have given up. No matter how much love and support surrounds me now, the idea of crossing the finish line and not seeing him there smiling proudly is the worst thing I can imagine right now.

Becoming us without them means doing just that. It means finding meaning in crossing one finish line after another without their open arms waiting to give us a victory hug. It means learning to be proud of ourselves after years of basking in the glow of their love and affirmation. It also means believing in ourselves the way they did, and giving ourselves permission to claim the victories they believed in for and with us when they were here. Along with that comes an ocean of sadness, disappointment and anger that confuse and alarm us, and a seemingly endless minefield filled with unpredictable moments when pain takes our breath away.

I have been at this long enough to know that this new person I am becoming can do this. Butch would be really proud of her, too. He sees me through the eyes of God now. And through Him, all things are possible!

Let's just hope the new version of me passes that exam!!