Its all over for the summer and I got my A. It was definitely not without sacrifice on the part of both me and my family, Joe in particular. And today, in the aftermath of a breathless ending in which whether or not I would get the grade I needed to continue forward in my promise to Joseph and myself lay on the line, I find I cannot yet feel triumphant. There are so many emotions going into this for me, some of which definitely must and do get put away in order to focus on the task at hand. The process of studying the human body and all its frailties and potential failings can be an acute and heavy reminder of all the ways Joseph's body failed him and learning to muddle through the inevitable emotions and grief that stirs up is something I am getting better at, but I am finding it must find its outlets elsewhere.
I did not count today on this aftermath feeling of fury, of anger, of having dealt a blow of sorts to an enemy I cannot see, waging battles one by one in a war whose ending has no clear definition for me yet; perhaps even the sensation of at this point just earning my right to take an official place in the line up for this war. All I know is there is a sense of walking away weary and battle-worn, of a determination to my face rather than rejoicing. Too many lives are lost; I cannot rejoice over the victory, as the war should not be having to be waged in the first place. Those of us on the attack against cancer do so out of necessity. It is a silent, invisible, mindless killer we fight against. I am taking my war to the next level with every class that I conquer. I feel determined. I feel tired. I feel the weight of realization that though a part of me does this for Joseph, it is too late to do it literally for him. He will not be back. I like to believe his spirit is loving me through this process. I live with the knowledge and sensation of his absence and I do this with him in mind, but also for my own sanity. I have been saturated in that world and I continue to feel out of water now outside of it. I will return to it better equiped and from a different vantage point. It may not be with children, but it will be for them.
We have reached almost 25% of our fundraising goal for Heroes For Children in just two weeks. I am hopeful that the hearts of people will continue to be stirred to contribute and/or participate. It is important. The best thing any one person can do for a child with cancer is to help hold up that child's parents.
I had opportunity last night when someone asked me how old my children are to share some of Joseph's story with my classmates. It was a very good conversation and nobody seemed to feel uncomfortable to ask me questions; perhaps I am getting better at owning what has become of us and sharing it. I think that is progress. It is healing for me to tell about him, talk about him, to share the boy that he was and the incredible, incredulous chaotic journey we have been on. All the students in that class are headed into the medical field and I like to believe it motivates and inpsires them to whatever their destinations may be as well.
I did it. I have more to do.
Okay, I guess I just needed to say that. Because now as I think about it this afternoon, I am pretty darn stoked to have gotten an A in the hardest class I have ever taken!