When Jesse died during the end of December 2020 I was taking a two hour credit course during the “break,” about legal writing.
That day I turned in my assignment with anxiety over it and planned to tell Jesse about it later that night. I didn’t get a chance to though.
I told my school the next day what happened and literally could not have cared less about that class. I have always obsessively worried about my grades, classes, etc, but I obviously didn’t care.
Spring semester was close. It started around the first week of January and my options were take the semester off and grieve or return to school.
I chose to go back even though Jesse had only been gone for two weeks. I did this because I needed to be overwhelmed. It sounds crazy but the busier I was the more options I had to distract myself.
To graduate law school I needed to pass:
- The legal writing class (yes, I totally forgot the real name #widowfog).
- Family Law
- Labor Law practicum
- Advanced Legal Analysis: ALA (a bar prep class)
- Right to life (a class about pulling the cord. PERFECT for what I just went through)
- The MPRE (multistate professional responsibility exam)
That was a lot to do while grieving and delivering a baby. I cried every night and took 29 baths a day. I tried to get to class. Some days I didn’t because I had 1 hour of sleep and a newborn. But my goal was to pass ONE of those 6 classes/exams. I thought if I can just make SOME progress I will be okay with that and be kind to myself. My mom helped me the most with a few close friends and my sil/bil.
Despite trying, my brain was blurred. The passion and intensity I had for the law was so dulled down. I didn’t care. Who cares about laws we made up? Nothing matters. Everything is now irrelevant and stupid.
But I kept at it because no matter how badly I didn’t care, I didn’t need to make it worse for the kids. The last thing they needed was a depressed jobless mom on top of all the bullshit they already encountered.
My school isn’t a huge university and I am so glad its not. It is very close knit and my classmates backed up their words when they said “we are here for you.”
In all of my classes I had a friend or two who broke down the law, helped me remember it, studied with me, even came over to hold the baby while I jotted notes down.
So I ended up passing all the classes but two. I failed ALA and I gave up on the writing class. The writing class I just couldn’t resume because Jesse died in the middle of an assignment and every time I started the assignment thats what I thought about.
I tried as best I could in ALA but I was so exhausted I would sleep in. At that point in time my son was also at his absolute worse. My life was just total chaos. I wish someone could have filmed it because words don’t do it justice. Plus family drama, but really that was the least of my worries.. it was more of an added “what the fuck.”
I couldn’t sleep because of my anxiety. But I was so tired. My son had angry outburst. My daughter intensely cried all the time and my other daughter rushed around trying to fix everyone, forgetting about herself. Toss in a newborn. Csection recovery. 5 animals. Soccer and dance practice. School during covid. Death related documents kept piling up. The house was disgusting. I just wanted to die.
So I failed. Two classes out of the 6 things I needed to pass. I call that a win though.
I need 90 credits to get my JD and I have 84.
My school let me walk with my class and I got to take pictures. Now I have to pass these two remaining classes. (grades are posted AFTER graduation but I knew I was going to fail at least 1 thing so it wasn’t a surprise).
Am I worried about failing again?
Absolutely. My fire is starting to come back a bit but its not like it was. I still have days where I am extremely down.
To me, there was no good reason to take time off. Will it be trying to get through holidays without Jesse? God yes. I’m terrified but it will *always* be trying.
In fact most widows say year 2 is worse because thats when you realize “Shit. This isn’t changing. He is really dead.”
So if I took my time, that would be two years of me delaying law school for my grief. I was afraid if I stopped I would never go back. There really will never be a perfect time to resume. Something will always suck.
So now I am in school again, trying to finish these last two classes and if I do, hopefully pass the bar exam. A part of me wants to wither away to nothing and just stare at the sky while I ignore all of my responsibilities but I have 4 kids that did nothing wrong and have dealt with more shit than some adults. They deserve the best me I can be despite this insane chaos.
Hopefully using them as my focus I can pass these two remaining classes and get my JD.
*Excuse any typos. I penned this from my phone as I waited in the car line for my 17 kids to get out of school. Did you know typos and mis-spellings don’t matter? Honestly. At the end of the day we are going to die. And soon. No one will remember if we used the correct “there” or not. So while it may be important to be perfect in my professional life, here I don’t care.