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Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to say goodbye?

Today was an average day, in my present life.  Honestly, I feel lost, and without a direction.  Last time I felt this way, I pulled up everything, and left.  It was the middle of my fall semester junior year.  My head wasn't in the game, so, I found something, I knew I loved, and left.  I went to UVM, because I had a dream of becoming an equine veterinarian.  By my junior year, my grades were not phenomenal, in the Math, and science department.  My appretation of supporting myself, and doing every activity I found remotely interesting, left me little time to study, practice, or really become excellent, at one thing.  I couldn't see that, then, and while I don't regret my life choices, I wish I had a clearer vision for what I hoped to do with a degree, in communications.  I studied biology, to get into vet school, and later switched to communications, as it came more naturally to me.  I.e, I didn't want to senselessly pound my head into a physics, or calculus text, I could wrap my head around.  I just forced myself to keep trying, because I wanted to he's. Wounded, or sick horses.  Finally, I reached a place where I realized I needed a change, and time, to decide if this was the right path.  So, I found a job, doing farm labor, exercising, and grooming horses for a British Olympic hopeful equestrian.  Those days were simpler, they hired me. Asked on the experience I told them I had.  3 weeks later, I found myself on a massive horse farm, riding 5 horses a day, observing lessons, cleaning up more horse poop, than I care to think about.  We worked from 7 am until 7pm, most days, but everyday passed entirely too quickly, whether it had been fun, or not so.  I changed a lot, in that year, as it was first time supporting myself, taking responsibility, for my choices about school, and the money I'd wasted, that fall semester.  Eventually, I had to return, and face my world.  That meant deciding how to finish school.  I ended up switching majors to communications.  I did quite well with it, provided I was interested in the course.  I worked the hardest at the subjects that interested me the most, and the others, I pulled through, begrudgingly.

I'm now realizing, I still live like that.  I focus on what I like, and try to begrudgingly get through the other stuff.  I spent the last 6 years arguing with doctors, therapists, amd case managers, to get what I thought was best, or what I needed.  Sometimes, I learned that I didn't know as much as I would've liked, and other times I learned that I needed to create ways to get around problems.

There was one person, that remained a constant, in my life of unknown people, and outcomes.  In 2008, I met a woman, Kim Patton, who was going to be the occupational therapist, I worked with, from then on.  However, she was field based.  In the early days she helped me secure community based volunteer positions, and was committed to ensuring that I stayed active in the community.  Naturally, my personality clashed with hers, on a regular basis.  She was an incredible mom figure, and if you know me, gracefully accepting assistance, is not something I excel at.  The majority of our working relationship, she'd toss out ideas, and I'd immediately disregard them, or just blindly shoot them down.  Looking back, she worked tremendously hard, to ensure her clients received the best care.

Last year, it became evident she was battling, a particularly harsh medical condition.  We suspected it was likely cancer, but it was like the dead horse in the room, I wasn't about to openly inquire, if she wasn't interested in sharing these details.  She was always so,open, with regards to her family life, and she was still working, so, I didn't put much thought into it.  She transitioned off my case pretty informally, last summer.  I can't even recpllect our last visit.

Today, I met up with a friend/ previous aide from the early days.  She called while I was out running, to push our meetup, a bit later.  I contined on, came back, changed, ate, and she arrived looking pretty upset.  When she asked me to sit, I felt my chest seize in fear.  I had no idea what news she had, but I knew it wasn't good.  She told me that she'd just heard from Kim's husband, and that she'd passed away, the day before.  I felt engulfed by a wave of sorrow, and regret.  I certainly wouldn't be where I am today, without her pushing me, and leading me towards a path of acceptance of my new path.  For that I will always be thankful.  Looking back, I wish I'd shown her more gratitude, when I had the opportunity.

She lived, a driven, caring, and compassionate life, my heart breaks for her family, but I'll remain forever grateful for the progress she helped me reallize.  May you rest in peace, Kim.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm still I shock... Getting older has its merits and liabilities...
It is never to late to honor those who have impacted our lives by being a part of them!
Love,
Dad

Marti said...

I'm so sorry Court. I know she was important to you. It sounds like you're taking what you learned from her and doing your best. That's a great tribute to her. And you.

Patricia Mcdonald said...

Courtney,
She knows how you feel..
So sorry for your loss!
Love,
Patricia