Been a long time, I think I’ve become a master of hiding my sorrow and grief about missing Betsy, but I also know part of it has been the sheer amount of crap I’ve been dealing with.
My entire life has changed since she died. Soon after Betsy died, I thought I’d complete my doctoral degree. She and I had made plans for our future that involved me having that document. In the years that have passed, it had become more of an disruption to my peace of mind and a huge stressor. I didn’t realize how horrible I’d feel when I discovered that I wasn’t writing well. I didn’t have anyone that I could work with to review my papers and I felt horrible asking friends. Finding an editor was possible, but was a lot of money. It took me a long time to get three chapters completed and approved by my committee. It was also a lot of heartache as I felt the sting of being told that I couldn’t write. I did conduct the study, but it took three times to get 50 people to respond to the survey. Then, the interview was a disaster, ten people said they’d participate, but in the end only four did. While taping, one of the electronic tapes didn’t work, so I had no recording of it and the last person bailed out on me, so I had two interviews. It appeared to me, that I did have data, but I felt as if I was seeing signs that I should just bag it and move on with my life. My love for Betsy and hers for me isn’t changed by this degree, nor is acceptance by any other people.
I’ve also had to endure five basement floods, flooding about once a year during heavy rains causing water from homes behind me and a bit above my home (and my neighbors) to pour in our backyards, into our front yard over the retaining wall, into a drain in the driveway causing sewage and water to back up into the house. Water poured through the dryer vent and the glass block windows. I lost thousands of dollars of furniture, books, and priceless memorabilia. So many items that I cannot ever replace, it has been heartbreaking. Again, something that made losing Betsy even harder. During one clean-up, someone took her Michael Kors boots, I still hope they break their ankle in them.
Add to that, the my job. A year after Betsy died, I returned to work, only to be told what a terrible teacher I was. My principal was relentless, I knew I wasn’t terrible, we all have room to improve, and they had an agenda to get rid of veteran teachers. It was the worst for my confidence. Nobody I worked with, not him, every knew, that I wound up almost committing suicide. I was at a very low point, I’d lost the most important, loving being in the world, now my livelihood was threatened. I really didn’t know how to cope with this added pressure, who would take care of my animals? Where would I live? I almost took a bunch of pills, but instead I called Erica. Soon afterward, the police showed up, then an ambulance and I was whisked away to the hospital where I had a week to receive some intensive care. When I was released, I spent 3-4 months in therapy, three days a week for three hours. It did help a lot. But I also knew I wasn’t strong enough, emotionally to return to my job, I love teaching, but I couldn’t face being a target again. So I found I was able to retire early, found a part-time job to supplement and was gone. Not one person that I was very close with has ever called or tried to contact me. Not that I would ever let this principal know how badly he affected my life or how I let him affect my life.
Finally, I had to euthanize sweet little Sophie. She was 15. She was having trouble eating for almost one year, she’d seem ok, but then would vomit and could not eat. She was blind. She was showing signs of dementia.
I have few friends that are close enough for me to confide in. I’ve learned my lesson from my previous job, those who I thought cared for me, dropped me once Betsy died. I don’t know how they could do it, but that is not my problem any longer. I have family members who no longer speak to me, that hurts like hell, but again, I’ve learned that I can only control myself and my feelings. Through all this, I’ve lost a hell of a lot. It’s time for me to get something back.
I still have Coco, she is just as goofy, lovable, and shy. She barks like a maniac to protect me. She still loves to play, but she too is losing her sight. We have Daisy cat now, she is shy too, but so lovable. I love them both and am so thankful for both of them.
We have moved. We have a nice apartment, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, nice size patio..and I don’t have to do any maintenance!
I have a job I really love and am gaining my confidence back. I teach children in China English. Each class is 25 minutes, one student at a time. I have taught 2025 classes in less than a year. I have 272 people following me on their platform. I have a teacher rating of 4.99/5.0. Again, I’m not perfect, but I’m far from incompetent. I’m learning and adapting to my new life and my new way of teaching. I love working from home.
I’m walking more often, reading more books. Trying to figure out what I want.
One thing I am planning is to start a scholarship in Betsy’s name at the graduate school she was going to attend. I have no plans or idea of how to do this, but it’s time to do something for her. And something about her, that would match her goals and her planned future. I’m excited about this.
I miss her everyday, some moments hurt more than others. Sometimes I can’t hold the tears back, some days I just can’t cope. But somehow, like many others, I go on.