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It Hasn't Been Easy!

It Hasn't Been Easy!

Welp, I haven’t written a blog in like FOREVER and have about 4 months’ worth of my life to jam into like 1000 words, let’s do this!


This has been without a doubt the toughest 4 months of my life. I started my master’s program this semester, which I am quite proud of. I didn’t apply to PhDs like I really wanted because I was told I just wasn’t competitive enough, I had been out of school over 6 years, so I get it. I enrolled into the prerequisites that prevented me from being a chem major, instrumentation and Physical chemistry, and I stuck with them. Within the first two weeks I was mortified, convinced I didn’t belong (still feel this way) that I am too unremarkable to be studying chemistry, I mean it’s really really hard guys. I emailed my advisor and said, and I paraphrase, “I don’t belong here maybe I should retake all the prereqs for these classes prior to taking them, I am going to fail.” He cleverly said, “well when I teach the classes, they’re harder but if you want to take the prereqs, go for it.” I felt like a loser emailing my advisor in a panic. Was he going to forever remember me as the panicked 30-year-old acting like a 20-year-old ready to drop out at the first sign of complexity? I sure AF hope not. After this realization, I knew I needed to tough it out. I was on the steepest of learning curves and needed to suck it up buttercup, put in 150% effort and see if I couldn’t make some god damn magic happen. I told myself I would give myself until the first test to decide, and guess what? I got a MF A on my first P-chem test (the class I was most worried about). 


Past the initial WTF am I doing here reaction, I was dealing with some real life BS. My relationship took a turn for the worse during the beginning of the semester which was emotionally taxing and eventually just commandeered my mental space for a hot minute. Then come September, my adopted grandpa, the man that with his family took my in in high school and gave me a safe, secure home to grow up in when I was 16-18 years of age, passes away and I wasn’t aware how bad his health was. I had seen him that summer and he wasn’t the spunky old man I remember but he was still ok. I got a call on Sunday saying, “Michelle, please don’t be mad at me, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but the ol’ man is not doing well, he’s on hospice care, and please don’t come down, he’s gone, he doesn’t remember anyone.” That broke my heart, but I didn’t have time to process and mourn, I was up every morning at 330 am, at work by 4am if not earlier, went to school right after that and then went home to study until 8pm. 8pm is when my “me time” began and I brushed, flossed my teeth and washed my face watching Netflix or listening to my favorite podcast. Bedtime was 9-930 pm and I did it all over the next day. THERE WAS NO TIME!


Come October, my Nanny (grandma), the most stable (in my life), loving, amazing woman was not doing well. She was 82 (maybe 83) and until now hadn’t aged. All of a sudden, she was having breathing problems, fluid in her lungs and no cause. She was weak and finally blood work showed she had zero iron in her blood. Blood work led to a blood pre-cancer diagnosis. They began transfusions that looked like they were helping. I made plans to come see my Nanny in December 2018 after school and I COULD NOT WAIT. I have always lived so so far away, and put myself through school financially so I always had to work and had no vacation so I never got to visit as an adult. I talked to my amazing beautiful Nanny on Saturday October 27th, my Nanny passed away the 28thand I lost my shit. Once again, I had no time to grieve. I had a test the next day in Physical Chemistry and had to somehow figure out how to keep my wits about me, how to not break down and wail the ugliest of cries in front of people at work and school. I may share a lot about myself online and sometimes in person but never like what this was prompting my body to do. I never understood people throwing themselves against walls, or floors in grief until this day, when I got the call at work at 6am and I collapsed repeating “I gotta go, I got, I go—” My family decided to not tell me when the services were, I will never forgive them for this and have not talked to them since, that hurts as well, but what they did and how they excused themselves from their awful decisions are unforgivable to me, so be it, see ya later aunt, uncle and sister, I’m out! You know where TF I am. 


Sliding into the end of the semester, my mother’s father is in and out of the hospital with breathing issues and diabetes and Alzheimer’s. My family and I are trying to cope with my grandpa’s new personality, I’m trying to educate my family on his anxiety and anger and random outbursts, but its fucking hard. Last week of school, my grandpa is in the ICU. I’m trying to keep up to date, comfort my family, and study. Life is rough, but just a week left. Wednesday is my last final, Thursday we get the call that we need to rush to the hospital because my grandpa is probably going to pass. I sat there as the nurses and doctors tried to explain that my grandpa was never coming back and that he was technically on life support and what the next steps were. Basically, they were easing into the “when do you want to “pull the plug”” type of conversation though we all know it’s not a plug. I sat in the cold smelly uncomfortable hospital acting as liaison with my family and nurses, answering my family’s questions as they didn’t understand what was happening. I watched my mother wail like I have never seen before and I think that was the hardest part. She had power of attorney and she had to decide to let her father go. It was devastating. 


Here I am, the Saturday after it all. I don’t feel happy or accomplished or relieved. I feel empty and sad and heartbroken. I feel alone and broken, and I am not sure how to process these last months of my life other than to say, I made it. 


Goodbye grandpa Al, you adopted me and treated me like your own and I will never forget you. You taught hard lessons, but always with the biggest heart and best intentions. 


Goodbye Nanny, you were my rock, my stability, my laugh. You made me feel loved like no one has been able to do since. I will never feel the same again. 


Goodbye grandpa John, I miss you. I miss who you use to be before you began to identify with the disease rather than your person. I miss your laugh, and your size, seeing you on that ICU bed, I didn’t even recognize you, a shell of who you use to be. 


Goodbye 2018, you sucked a lot. You hurt me more than anything could hurt me and I am ready to transform this pain into strength for 2019. 

The SciCommunity

The SciCommunity