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August Blog Challenge - Day 16

What are your five greatest accomplishments?

Getting a bit tired of writing about myself.  Looked ahead and the next challenge days involve that, too.  Bleh.  But I promised I'd do this so....

1.  Supporting Dave in his battle with cancer.
In sickness and in health, I promised.  I didn't really know what that would mean.  Or how hard it would be.  It was a privilege to be with Dave, to be his helpmate, to give him what he needed, to make sure that we had done all we could, and when we had, it was a privilege to walk with him to the end of his life, to let him know he was loved, to care for him, to reassure him, to help him die with dignity, surrounded by love.  I honored my commitment, until death did us part, and I never considered doing anything but.

2.  Raising my kids without Dave.
It's been almost 11 years.  My children are almost all grown.  There were hundreds of times each day that they needed Dave.  And I tried to be there for them, to give them what they needed as best I could.  There was no way to fill that gaping hole in our lives.  Many people helped me.  Any shortcomings are entirely my own.  And while it's far from perfect, far from good, even, Kenny, Zach and Kate have grown into these astounding human beings.  I don't know that I actually had a part in that, but at least I didn't screw it up.

3.  Finding a way to battle Kenny's autism.
I spent countless hours on research.  I talked to people all over the country.  I raised funds and got UCLA trainers in to work with Whitman students who devoted 30+ hours every week to working with Kenny.  I stayed up all night to review video tapes.  I slept not at all.  To the point I was hallucinating from lack of sleep.  I worked and worked to make sure his every waking hour was productive and engaged.  I read book after book, went to conferences, talked to teachers, created programs.  Spoke at conferences, started support groups, educated doctors. I was frenzied, but dedicated.  And look at that kid.  It paid off in spades.

4.  Staying open to life after having been hurt so much.
They say that what keeps you from enjoying life is the picture in your head of how it's supposed to be.  That you can't embrace what you have if you're still stuck in what you lost. This resonates with me on a deep level. So many times, the life I thought I was going to live has been ripped away.  My life as I knew it was gone.  It takes grit to decide to keep going when it seems like everything is not how it's supposed to be. But somehow, each time I have survived. And found a way to let love into my life again.  Gosh, that sounds trite.  But it does take courage.  Because caring about someone, loving someone, is always a risk.  If you care, then you have something to lose.  It's far from easy to open yourself to that.  It's easier to shut it out. It's harder to decide that love is worth the pain. But life without love is like living in a grey world.  You can't numb the bad without also numbing the good, so I have learned to keep breathing, keep feeling, keep loving,

That's all I got.  I know it says 5, but this is all I can come up with.


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What is your dream job and why?

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And it is. It really is.

I went to a private university.  A pretty snobby, pretentious one. I thought the community college would somehow be "less" than a university.

I was so wrong.

This place is filled with dynamic, passionate, intelligent people.  And these people care so much about the students they serve. I am continually awed by the caliber of learning and the depth of compassion I see every day.

And I get to be a part of it.

The work I do is hard. But I have a partner.  Daryl.  He's my sanity.  He keeps me grounded.  He's brilliant and insightful and he fills my work days with unconditional love.  We support each other. We talk and connect every day, sustaining each other in ways that go far beyond the surface.  We grow together as people and as therapists.  We fight b…