Nick found some old photos of Mom last weekend, and one of them has flit about my thoughts throughout the week…my mother at 22 years old:
I first saw this photo when sorting through albums to create photo boards for the visitation after she died in January 2006. The actual day she passed away, I was lost in my grief…but after that I put on my “outside face” and buried it all because there was work to do. Then I remember coming to that picture and feeling lost all over again.
I’ve had plenty of time to analyze and understand my reaction. I’m having trouble finding the right words, but I am guessing that anyone who has cared for a loved one with a terminal disease will understand my stuttering attempt. I was able to keep a grasp on my sorrow on the promise in my heart that she wasn’t suffering anymore. It was a relief to have her agony be over. There was peace in that.
That photo showed me a part of her that I had forgotten during the last two years of her life…the vibrant, funny, silly, willfully carefree side of her that took a piece of me with her when she got sick. No strain in her eyes, no shadows of fatigue or sallow skin. Youth really is wasted on the young…you don’t appreciate the simplicity of expecting to reach an old age until you’re slapped with mortality decades too soon.
My more recent reaction to the photo was a similar taste of bittersweet, but the bitter died the longer I looked. Time is both a thief and salve.
Because it’s fun to compare (and since apparently Nick was a photo archeologist last weekend), here is a digital image he also uncovered from an old external hard drive where I used to store photos. Me at 22…life was a little lighter then for me too.
I passed my second test…[and the crowd goes wild…ahhhhh!]
The books and notes from the first two courses have been shelved ceremoniously as is befitting my longstanding capriciousness.
I remember being a child and thinking that one day there would be a finish line with my education. Bah! Silly little girl! Nope. We never stop learning. Our brains aren’t wired that way…they keep right on sponging away, no matter how much of a blockhead we fully intend to be.
A few years ago, I decided to pursue some insurance-industry certifications instead of completing the MBA program (at least for my next endeavor). The certifications are self-study in preparation for an exam at an official test location. Yes, I decided on this direction a few years ago. I started at the end of last year…hah!
Because I’m a total spreadsheet nerd, I mapped out different paths of classes needed to complete the initial three designations on my wish list, determining which combinations of classes would complete the task most economically. No matter which way I sliced and diced it, I came out at 11.
It’s testing me (no pun intended). I’m on thought-dulling pain medication around-the-clock. Somedays I feel like I’m running on a treadmill in effort to reach the end of the block. This in part explains the time gap between the deciding and the doing in this little venture…I knew I would have to work twice as hard to accomplish what used to come so very easily to me. Never take your mind for granted, folks.
Anyway, if I can keep the passing streak alive, the spreadsheet has me finishing sometime in 2019. The books for the next course arrived, but I gave myself until after The Trifecta before losing myself to the process again.
At least the office is getting more use now.