Tonight, I waited until everyone was asleep so that I could address my graduation invitations. I knew it would be emotional; even getting them in the mail was emotional. This has not only been a long and difficult four year journey, it has been a journey I wanted to undertake many years ago but could not. I do not know how I will make it out of the ceremony itself without crying. I’m hoping to channel a little Leroy and see if that helps. I know he’ll be with me there, in spirit anyway.
Today was emotional anyway. A family member had surgery at the same hospital where Ken spent so many months before, during, and after his transplant. Just going into the space brings back a flood of memories about our bad, good, and okay but not great times there. Seeing his happy pink smiling face post-transplant is still one of my very favorite memories. Oh, how much I wish I could just have five minutes with him during this time in my life. I know he would tell me what to do, how to be, and how to handle the stresses I am feeling. But alas, he cannot do that. He only exists now in my memories and in the memories of those who loved him and whose lives he entered.
As I addressed the note to my former mother-in-law, his wife, tonight, I realized that it was probably one of the first times I had written her name alone on an envelope since way back then. It felt strange, leaving his name off the notecard. I almost added it, but I knew that would be weird for her. I even thought about addressing one to him, in spirit, and mailing it to a far away place with a false address, kind of like Santa at the North Pole.
I cried for a solid hour, little by little, while addressing those cards to those closest to me, and to a few folks who I know will be very proud of me for finally achieving this goal. It’s sad really. I had so much promise as a young person. I just got involved with the wrong person and spent nearly 15 years paying for that mistake. I do have a wonderful son from that, and I have the memories of Ken. I guess that’s enough return on investment, but it sure doesn’t feel like it sometimes. Looking back now, things feel about as bad as they actually were at the time, but now, it just seems like such a waste. A little part of me wants to mail him a copy of my JD and write a nasty note, telling him that I did it, despite his best efforts to the contrary. I think it would make me feel better anyway. But, I probably won’t do it, because he’s not worth even that much effort.
I have addressed all but two of the invitations tonight. I only purchased 15, because who really cares about a 41 year old graduating from law school other than a few folks who are close to her and her close family, anyway? I will send them out and think about who gets the final two. Kind of makes me think about the golden ticket in Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, another favorite of my childhood.
In closing tonight, I am very grateful for having this opportunity to fulfill my dreams, finally achieving this goal I set a long time ago and dreamed about for 15 years. I am very grateful that my family member’s surgery went so well tonight, and I wish her God speed in her recovery. I am very grateful to have a supportive and loving husband who has been there with me through this 4-year journey and continues to journey through this crazy life with me. The first night I got back a paper and cried all the way home, he was there, on the phone, telling me that it could not be nearly as bad as I thought. He was right. It wasn’t. I learned how to write, and I’ve received three top papers in legal writing classes since that night.
In 42 days, 12 hours, and 32 minutes, I will stand with my classmates and hear the pomp and circumstance, meaning that this part of the journey is over. Another journey begins again, I’m sure. I’ve become good at starting again. I will persevere.