It's been a week since she died. I've picked up the ashes from the crematorium, gotten the death certificates, and had myself made the custodial parent on the kids' bank accounts. My awesome friends and relatives cleaned my house hauling away years of junk, and maybe the snow shovels. If you know where the snow shovels are, please leave a note in the comments.
Other than the snow shovels, I seem to be handling things pretty well. We've moved back into the house. Stuff is getting done: big stuff like - the cremation - and little stuff - like the laundry. The kids are coping in their ways. People keep asking me what they can do for me, and I keep answering that I don't know yet. People also keep telling me that I seem so composed and that they cannot believe that I can write and think through all of this, but I can. Indeed, I've been training my whole life for it, for it's times like this that the value of a liberal arts education is revealed.
Since boyhood, I've read and watched Shakespeare and Rostand's Cyrano and The Bible. I've studied history and art and literature. I've done science in the labs and in the woods and I've stared into the deepest recesses of the universe in the dark of night with astronomers and I've stared into the darkest recesses of my own soul with philosophers. So when the unthinkable happened I was ready. I have 10,000 years of human history providing me examples of how to handle myself in the worst times. It's a handy thing to have on your side.
This, then, is the true purpose of education. We are, again, in one of those moments in history where the liberal arts is under attack for being irrelevant. The calls for job training and "useful" majors is on the rise again.
Majoring in business cannot teach us how to deal with the unthinkable. It may be a path to money, but it will leave you forever poorer.