Today, I received my acceptance letter for the Masters of Acupuncture program at Tai Sophia Institute. About a year ago, I began to recognize that I would need to create something new for myself. To finally take care of myself and “enrich my life” as a woman. The fact that my dreams came true today is remarkable. What I have accomplished in these 15 months is so much more than I could have ever expected. I have mourned, and continue to mourn. I have traveled and have new destinations in mind. I have listened to my heart and created goals to make my future one I want to run towards. And today, all of my perseverance has led me to my new reality.
When I saw that envelope in the pile of junk mail I held my breath. I picked up the letter delicately and walked slowly through the kitchen to sit on the couch in the living room. As I sat, I took a deep breath and stared for a while at my name. Slowly, I pulled open the flap to reveal the packet inside. The letter wasn’t right on top, so I had to dig a little to get there. As soon as I saw the bold “congratulations!” I sunk back in my seat. I read the letter slowly to absorb the contents and then I waited for the joy to overwhelm me. Instead, the pain assailed my consciousness. I cried and shook. I thought about how, if TJ were here, he would take me out to celebrate. I thought about how this acceptance letter was another stark reminder of TJ’s absence. A reminder that this is all just a way to make do with the life that I have now. Yes, school is what I want and welcome into my life. This future I have chosen for myself is one I am so proud of, and have taken great pains to discover and make a reality. But I can’t help that I am constantly reminded of the loss I must endure. No matter my accomplishments and progress, will I always feel this way? That nothing will ever be as good as what TJ and I could have had together? I feel so sad that thoughts like this could taint my otherwise pure satisfaction. I work too hard to let my past life projections overshadow my happiness.
Today I made a choice. I realized that this is not the first milestone that has left me in tears or without breath in my lungs. And it will not be the last. I look ahead to my first day of class, to my graduation, to the grand opening of my practice. Those will be days of immense pride and joy. But I’d be a fool to think that they wouldn’t be bittersweet. But bittersweet is all that I will allow. I refuse to let my grief suck out the pleasure in these moments. The pleasure and the pain will have to learn to live together somehow. Over time, I hope to figure out a way to balance them more evenly. I know that I will forever experience these strong reactions. TJ is too much a part of who I am to not feel the void his death leaves inside me. However, I hope to use all that I have learned from him to make my life, my future, one we can both deem gratifying. He would want me to be both contented and peacefully satisfied; I aim for those qualities and more.