“‘Cause I’m a comeback, I’m a comeback kid Down for a minute, I’ll get up again Looks like I’m breaking, but it’s just a bend; it’s not over yet…I’ll save you a spot at my big parade You’re all invited on my comeback day I’ll serve you ice cream and lemonade” – Kimberly Perry / Neil Perry / Reid Perry

I woke up this morning with a huge pain in my chest. My heart hurt. (Let’s be real it was 5am. Getting up at a time I am normally staring at the clock was difficult say the least.) But it needed to be done. I have spent the last 5 months in an intense CNA – Certified Nursing Assistant – program, with the goal of going into hospice care. The funny thing is every clinical skill I was taught was something that I had been doing for years, skills I had mastered in my years of taking care of Duane.

Many people have asked why I decided to go into this line of work after everything I had already gone through taking care of Duane. The only thing I can say is I was drawn to it. I went to college for forensics and had done autopsies and I have my mortuary license. I always said “I can work on dead people, but I would never work on the living because I don’t want to mess up”. But I have always been drawn to it. I remember one day while Duane was sick, we had friends over (one who was a nurse) and she said you would be a good nurse and immediately Duane said “No she wouldn’t”.  That deterred me for a while, but I kept thinking maybe I can. I brought it up many times and family and friends would say, not yet, it’s too soon, you’re not ready. I will say I have many supporters, people that have encouraged me to pursue this from the start, unwavering support. So this year on “Duane’s Day”, July 8, the 1 year anniversary of his passing I decided I needed to get my shit together. On July 9th I walked in to the local college and asked about classes, they started the 10th – I signed up. The next day I started class and knew I had found my passion.

I finished classes a few weeks ago and registered for the state boards. The only day open was December 7th. Our wedding anniversary. Our third anniversary. He has officially been dead for more anniversaries than he was alive.

At first I said it was a “sign”. But this morning, with an aching heart and tired body I saw it as a mistake. What was I thinking?? How could I put this much pressure on myself, today, of all days. I got through the written test and then moved on to the skills. Got through the skills and then lost it. I looked at the evaluator as she said, “you’re done, thank you”, and I lost it. I took a deep breath and the tears started flowing I told her that my husband had passed away last year and that today was our anniversary. She asked me for a hug and told me everything was going to be ok and that I should definitely consider getting my RN. We need mature nurses she said. You would be great at it, you know this and your heart is in the right place.

I left the test happy. Proud of what I had accomplished and ready to start looking for a job. But what she and so many of my other mentors have told me, the idea of becoming an RN is weighing on my mind. Two more years of school versus 5 more months and then a summer of fun. I need to make a decision in the next few weeks.

For tonight and then next few days I am going to sit, relaxed and pleased with my accomplishments. My heart is no longer heavy and I know that Duane was with me today. He told me I wouldn’t be good at anything nursing related and I am, so I guess I am also laughing at the fact I can say “I told you so – you were wrong”! hahahahaha

– xoxo Victoria


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