Today I submitted my final project to complete my Master of Arts in Education. My husband was not here to celebrate with me - instead, his body is six feet under and he is with the Lord. We had talked about the time we would have when this was complete, the things we were going to do. Instead it will just be me with an empty house and time on my hands.
When this whole journey started, you were unhappy as to my reason why I began my return to school. After the double pneumonia scare where I came close to losing you way back in 2004, I told you that I needed something to fall back on if your health did not hold up. I was upset because you began sneaky smoking again, refused to follow the diet for your hypertension, refused to take medications because you didn't like the side effects and would never give anything time to adjust.
So...first I did a medical transcription program, but although I did well, it was incredibly boring. Then I went for my dream - I became a certified fitness training through two accredited certifying agencies. I started teaching a class at the gym four times a week and training clients, very part-time. We were still homeschooling and you were very resistant to me working outside the home so much. Along the way, I realized that would never be much of a big income maker.
The world came crashing down when your company downsized and you lost your job of 20 years. Oh, they wanted you to stay at a much, much lower rate and be subordinate to people you trained (just so they could use your knowledge). Your pride said no to that and I agreed - you were right, without you and the other middle-aged long termers they screwed they went down in flames. However, our income never recovered. You did finally land in a company that treated you well, with people who you loved to work with and respected. They treated you like family and valued you. Our income as 3/4 of what it had been, You still weren't taking care of yourself.... I went back to school.
You didn't like it. You complained. You felt like you were losing me. It worried you. We lost people during it - Martha, Dad, Sam, two beloved dogs. We faced some really big struggles and overcame some difficult obstacles during this time. We both hated the job I got with my business degree; management in a crooked company doesn't do a lot for morale.
When I decided to substitute teach, you were all in. You were my staunchest supporter. You believed in my education degree this time - although you felt I knew enough, knew more than was necessary and you really disliked the whole system of it. You couldn't understand how I could pass all of those knowledge tests and still have to have the credits. But you were proud and you called me, "Teach." We started to plan.
The kids were all growing up, getting married, moving to their own little family units. You loved having me to yourself and we began to enjoy each other's company like we hadn't in years upon years. It almost seemed sudden - we got our "coupleness" back. We were waiting for this degree to end to do all sorts of things together. Save more for retirement. Travel to the graves of our ancestors. Play more. Snowshoe. Get a small boat.
And now, I've finished the degree. I've got my Master of Arts in Education -- and I do not have you. I do not have you to spend the time with, I do not have you to share the joy of completion. In fact, completion doesn't even seem joyful at all without you here. I have the paper, I have the time, and I have no you.