I was a college drop-out. I was an unwed mother, and I needed to work to support my child. 29 years later, I decided to go back to school. Things sure have changed!
Let's see, in 1985, we were using Commodore 64 computers with 5" floppy disks. Does anyone out there remember those oldie but goodies? And internet--what internet? Didn't exist. We did research the old-fashioned way: in the library.
Now, I am taking all my classes online in a distance learning program. Try doing that when you are working 70+ hours a week! At times, I have felt like my head was going to explode. I have managed to keep a 3.5 average. I even made the Dean's list at some point!
I still have a year to go. When you are only taking 4 classes a semester, it is slow going. And it didn't help that I changed majors, and that a lot of my credits didn't transfer. but I WILL get it done, one way or another. It is almost an obsession with me (not unlike POGO, but that is for another post). Not that having that degree is going to make a difference in my job hunt. Not really. With the economy the way it is, there are lots and lots of degreed individuals competing for jobs for which they are over-qualified. No, it is just about completion for me. I like having things done, and this has been something I left undone for a long, long time.
At times, I feared hubby would divorce me over my schooling. I would come home from work and immediately put my nose in a book, staying up late to get homework done. I will just be glad to have it done. I am learning a lot, though, so that is a plus...
When ES was still around, I think she was a little jealous of me being in school, or maybe even a little bit threatened. She was the know-it-all, and by god, you sure didn't argue with her, because she was always right! That didn't make going to school any easier. It wasn't about them, though. It was something I needed to do for me. Selfish as it may be, I have to do this.
I remember her throwing it in my face during one heated argument. She basically told me that I was an educated snob. That really hurt, especially since she had bent over backwards to make sure her kids went to college, because she knew how important an education is.
Don't get me wrong. I really did love ES, once upon a time. I loved her so much, her words would just devastate me. The ES years were so turbulent. We were just too different, and I was not strong enough to stand my ground with her. She was a very dominant personality. When she got sick, she changed. In the end, she had let the illnesses win. She just gave up, and it was unbearable to witness. She would go days without bathing, and she would hole up in her room, barely speaking to anyone. I am ashamed to say it now, but I was glad when she made the choice to leave. She had withdrawn so much from the family, she was hardly recognizable, and refused any help. And it sure didn't help that she blamed me for everything...
A little education goes a long way. The Lyme's disease would never have been diagnosed if ES hadn't gone online to figure out what and the heck was wrong with her. Unfortunately, it was too little too late; she was already stage IV when the official diagnosis was made. She was diagnosed with diabetes and PAD shortly after that. Within 6 months, she lost her leg.
I just found out that I am borderline diabetes. Not a surprise, as I am obese. I am not, however, going to go down the same path as ES. For one thing, I am a non-smoker (except for the second hand smoke I breath daily). I am not going to eat myself into the grave. I am not going to lay in bed or on the couch for hours at a time, no matter how much my arthritis may be hurting. I am not going to blame other people or doctors or the tobacco companies or the fast food industry for my current state. I am blaming me. I am not making excuses or pointing fingers. A little education goes a long way...
I harbor a lot of anger and resentment, and that is not healthy. I need to let that crap go before it eats at me as well. ES is gone. I will never be able to tell her how she made me feel. But that was my choice. Her last words to me were: " You know I would really like to know what the I did to cause you so much pain?" I never answered her. It would have been far too painful for me to rehash everything, and I had become so used to her belittling my feelings, I didn't think it was worth the pain. Now I wish I would have, if for no other reason that to get it out instead of internalizing it.
I never wished her any ill will. I certainly did not wish her the pain and suffering she went through, both physical and emotional. I am stymied by my reaction to her death. I feel......nothing. And that really bothers me. No pain, sorrow, remorse, regret. Just, nothing. I thought maybe it was because I was in shock. But I am not really shocked or surprised. What does that say about me as a person? Have I lost the capacity to give a damn? Am I evil?
I am certain that she hated me to the core. I am also sure her family hates me as well. Just as well. If I can't even find any feelings in me at all for her, that says a lot. How can you feel indifference for someone you loved and cared about? I should feel SOMETHING, for cryin' out loud.
Maybe I need some couch-time with a psychobabbler....