My long awaited letter came in the mail one beautiful, sunny spring day. I was accepted into a Ph.D. program at Temple University. I felt no joy. My husband had suddenly died two months earlier, I was left with two toddlers, and was pregnant with my third. I made a call to my advisor who agreed that I would need to delay school for a good year. She suggested that I call another student whose young husband had died two years earlier.
I made the call. I introduced myself as a new, young widow, and explained the unimaginable pain that I was feeling for myself and for my children. The woman said these exact words to me: “Debby, do you know how you feel that you have nothing to live for? You are correct. There is absolutely no reason for you to even get out of bed in the morning”.
I was absolutely certain that she was right. Of course my life was over! There was only one answer. I went back to bed!! I took out the wool Hudson Bay blanket that my mother gave me in high school , the white one with the stripes at the bottom, and crawled under it. I stayed there for a long time. But then, the thought occurred to me that I was only in my 30’s, and that I would need to lie under that blanket for a very long time. Soon, the boys starting making noise in the kitchen, I was getting overheated, the blanket started itching, and I had to use the bathroom. I did the only thing I could; I called my sister who told me the wisest words I could have heard at that time. “One day this will be your past,” she said, although I did not believe her then. I could not see past my anguish, and could not consider that I would have any kind of future at all. My sister, as always, was right.
I threw off my blanket and decided to begin. Begin to breathe. Begin to try to see possibilities that I would survive. Begin to think that I could do whatever was needed. I did not know how I would do it, but I remember this exact moment; the one where I decided to begin to figure it out.