vespachica: (Bill and Me on a boat)
[personal profile] vespachica
Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

All of these questions seem difficult for me to answer right now and I think, for simplicity's sake, I will answer the questions in reverse order.

Right now I am in school to study culinary arts. And … that's basically all I know. Originally the plan was for me to study cooking in order to become a professional chef. All of that, however, has changed now. I am assured by my husband's cousin, a professional chef herself, that there are far more things to do with a culinary degree aside from being a chef with irregular hours. So, onward I go. I will define my destiny as I go. Perhaps I'll be a wedding caterer. Or a food writer.

I come from a family of four. My family contains my dad, my mom, my brother, and me. In my early years we lived in California around my mom's extended family. We moved to Washington when I was eight and since we did not have any relatives up here it was just us. We learned to lean on each other, and our neighbors, to get by. My parents have been there for me throughout all of my ups and downs and I expect they will be there for more of my roller coaster ride. Since our family was small there was nowhere to hide. This was both good and bad. It was good because if you were trying to avoid a confrontation or if you needed help you had no choice but have someone notice. It was bad because, well, sometimes you just need somewhere to hide away with your thoughts. My dad has been, and remains, my closest confidante. I know I can tell him anything and he will not judge me. He will help me with the situation, if needed, or he will simply listen. It is because of his wisdom and sense of humor that I am the person I am today. My mother has her own issues and although we historically have not completely gotten along we are now doing better and trying to learn how to treat each other. My brother is a typical younger brother. He's a goofball and self-absorbed but has a heart of gold. He would do anything for his family. My only regret regarding my brother is that he lives so far away, in Nevada, and we hardly ever see him.

The hardest question for me to answer is “Who am I?” On the surface this is fairly easy. I am a mother. I am a student. I am a daughter. I am a sister. However, recently my world was shaken to its core. Less than three months ago I was also a wife. My husband of over 11 years committed suicide on July 21, 2010 leaving me alone and floundering. Prior to that I lost my job and only career. I used to be an insurance agent and not the garden variety kind. I worked in aviation insurance. Because I was so specialized and had no common experience no one wanted to touch me.

Those two events happening within two months of each other have placed my feet on unsure ground. If you had asked me six months ago who I thought I was I would tell you that I was a professional woman with a loving family. I would have told you that, sure, I have my share of problems but who doesn't? Now I am not so sure who I am. My identity has been reset and I can now be anyone I want to be.

And so it comes back to who I want to be. I want to be the best mother I can to the two gifts of life my husband gave me before he left the earth. I want to find a profession where I am not “working”. I want to find a profession where I am doing something I enjoy. I have always enjoyed cooking. Cooking is how I express my love for my family and friends. So it is with that spirit that I pursue a culinary arts degree. It is with that spirit that I have decided to walk this walk even though it is not easy to get out of bed every day and get it done.

I sometimes think of this as a blessing in disguise. I have a fairly unique opportunity to experience a mulligan, a “do-over”. Of course I miss my husband like crazy and am devastated that he is not with me. But my logical mind will occasionally, just sometimes, whisper that he is no longer in pain and agony. It is that same logical mind that whispers to me that I need to live my dream. I have lost my family home and am renting an apartment. Renting lends itself to not putting down roots which means I can go anywhere I want. I don't need to stay in Seattle or even the United States. I can move to France if I want to and study cooking further. My children would come with me, of course, and we could have some grand adventures not being tied down to a house or obligations.

My upbringing by my parents has left me strong. They have supported me through thick and thin. They are supporting me and loving me now. My dad's wisdom and good advice continues. The relationship with my mom keeps improving and we are starting to understand each other more than we ever have. I know that the sky is the limit. And maybe, in the sky, I will be able to feel my husband smiling down on me.
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December 2012

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