For several months I've referenced Operation: DBH and said that I would explain at a later time. Well, now is the time. I took a definitive step forward today and now there isn't any turning back from this new phase in my life.
Operation: DBH stands for "Death Becomes Her."
Several months ago I was looking at masters programs and trying to find one that I thought I could stomach long enough to earn my raise. The whole idea of a masters in education seemed pointless, since I had/have no intention of staying in teaching for the rest of my working life. I also didn't want to pursue my MFA in creative writing.
In August I had a long conversation with my parents and they said "what do you really want to do?". We happened to be on our way to Benson's Funeral Home in St. Cloud to the wake of a friend of my grandma's. Mark Benson was absolutely fantastic when he handled my grandma's wake, and I was looking forward to seeing him again. I spoke with him during the wake about becoming a funeral director--what's involved in the education, internships, etc. We talked for quite awhile, and when I got home I got the ball rolling.
I am going to become a funeral director. I registered this morning for some of my prerequisite classes at Normandale: accounting, human biology, and psychology of death and dying. This summer I will take two health classes, and this fall I'll be taking statistics, chemistry, and another biology class. I should be set to apply to the U of M's Mortuary Science program in the spring of 2009 and enroll there in the fall of 2009.
This is the right path for me. When I talked with Mark something absolutely clicked, something that hadn't before with all of the MFA/masters program searching, and I realized that I was trying to deny a part of myself that is very real. I am interested in death: the process of dying, the grief process, how the living go on afterward.
I always said that I would teach until I found the "right job." It took nine years, but I've found it. I balked a bit at the science requirements--wondering if I could do the work--and I came to another realization: I have spent my whole life underestimating myself. I never have the opportunity to "fail" because I fail myself first. I've always said "I'm not smart enough for ____"--whatever it is. In Forensics: "I'm not good enough to break to quarters at Nationals." It's time for me to understand that I am smart. I can learn whatever is put in front of me.
So, there's the big announcement. I'm leaving teaching as a profession (in about three years) and will become a funeral director. I will embalm and prepare bodies for funeral and burial, spend time with families, work with people in pre-planning...all of that will be in my new job description, and I couldn't be happier.