Life continues whether we want it to or not. In the beginning of your journey it may feel like you’ll be stuck and never have another life goal or milestone occur. As time moves forward and your grief journey moves along, there will be new milestones and accomplishments. Life milestones happen. These accomplishments can be a way to help us move forward in life. They also can be a poignant reminder of who is missing from the milestone. It is OK to both celebrate the achievements and remember those who are no longer with us.
Over this past weekend, I hit a new milestone and graduated with a Master’s Degree in CICS (Information and Communication Sciences). When Bob died, I had left my career in technology and started working in children’s causes. This degree was my way of returning to my technology roots and finding a new network of people in the field.
So, I spent the last two years studying, reading, giving presentations and taking tests. This weekend was the culmination of that effort. I attended the ceremony, reception and other celebrations of my accomplishment with my new love. I could feel how proud he was of my achievement. I loved the support that he provided me as I crossed the stage.
On the way home, a song came on the radio that reminded me of my former life and the love I had with my late husband Bob. As I sat next to my new love, I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. I know that he would have been proud and I missed him at that moment. I allowed the tears to fall and I thought about all the things he was missing.
Next month, I will begin a new adventure and work on my lifelong goal of obtaining a doctoral degree. As I travel this part of my journey, I will carry with me the memories of my life with Bob. I will also have the support of my new love, family and friends. While I miss that he will not see these things, I will enjoy this new phase of my life.
Teresa’s poignant milestone was graduating with her Masters in education curriculum instruction and design. I celebrated quietly with little fanfare. I went with my boyfriend, now husband, to see a favorite local band. I didn’t partake in any of the graduation celebrations. It didn't feel right, it cost money I didn’t have, and time I didn’t want to spend driving alone, or drag my boyfriend to walk the stage.
My masters was my goal and was an important part of moving through my grief. I started it as a means of growing myself and learning. A big reason was there were too many lonely quiet nights and weekends and time to wallow in grief. I decided to pursue something I had put off when we had our boys. I figured education and learning were a passion of mine, I could also tick off a life goal and fill my time with something worthwhile. I’d also complete my masters at the same time my youngest was graduating high school.
It was a grueling two years of working full time as a middle school science teacher, parenting, keeping up the ranch, attempting and failing at dating, and going back to school in my 40’s.
During the many late nights and weekends of nothing but school work, I could feel Kris’s presence rooting me along. I could hear him when I felt like quitting or things got tough, “It’s all good babe.”
I’m grateful for the opportunity and it worked to keep me focused and motivated. It was a milestone I’m proud of and it was something I had always wanted to achieve. I missed Kris and know he’d have been proud of me.
Ok…so we got our Master’s. What does that mean for you? Should you go back to school? Not necessarily. We wanted to share what our goals and milestones were in our journeys. Goals are an important resilience trait. Yours may very well and will look very different. Your goals will reflect the goals and dreams that are important to YOU. There may be a book series that you always wanted to read, a trip that you wanted to take, a job you wanted to have, a place you wanted to live, people you wanted to meet …
Whatever that goal or dream is belongs to you. It is your aspiration, your wishes, your journey that will guide your path and direction. Just know that it is perfectly OK to move forward with you. You can remember the past while moving forward. In YOUR time and at YOUR pace and in YOUR direction.
This is YOUR journey and it is OK to travel it YOUR way.
And now, dear readers, we have a question for you. As we are making plans for the future direction of our blogs, we are seeking a theme for our blogs for 2023. In 2022, we have focused on what is OK and what is not OK. What would you like to see from us in 2023? Please let us know here.
Please share our site and resources with others in your life who might benefit from our work.
Peace & Blessings,
Jeni & Teresa
PS: For additional support you can download our free copy of 10 Ways to Move Forward After Loss
Torn in Half: The First Days as a resource for the first days after a loss - available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.