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I arrived home from the funeral to find an email inviting me to take online courses through my alma mater to complete the licensing requirements to become a therapist. Through investigation, I made contact with someone from the Board of Behavioral Sciences who confirmed what I had not expected.

The moment when I read in her email, “your degree would not be eligible” I felt the relief of one question answered. I would not be licensed in California. It would not make sense for me to obtain another master’s degree. I could not commit to a doctoral program. This was it. This is my life. What does that mean?

What can I do, I asked myself. I’m sitting in this hospital room with my son in the bed thinking that the period of frequently, long and dangerous hospitalizations is not over. I thought it might be over, otherwise, I would not have taken these steps to finally make something of my degree.

My degree program changed my life. It changed my husband’s life. It formed our marriage in beautiful and inexplicable ways because it altered how we relate to each other. My degree formed my parenting style and helped me navigate the throes of coping with grief and helping my children express their grief at the death of their baby sister, who was born without a brain. Yes, I know intellectually my degree was not worthless, but I never wanted to be one of the many with a personally enriching degree and a mountain of debt I’ll never be able to pay.

I continue to probe these thoughts and try to understand. What can I do? I can write. And the moments come to me that I have spent writing each morning in that hospital room while my child still sleeps. The moments were enlightening, relieving, and, in truth, fun. So my heart fills with light and joy as I describe this as the direction I’ll throw my energy.

For close to two years I have been a columnist for our local newspaper. This decision meant looking for new publications, sending out samples and pitches, reworking my resume. I felt the grace of not fearing rejection. I’ve learned enough through past publishing that sometimes the piece just is not right. I can learn. I can write something different. The key is finding places to submit.

This morning, I am very excited to share with you the first fruit of this new search. You can find my letter, here, at The Catholic Woman. I hope you enjoy it!