Looking Back at 2015

It’s Sunday, 3 January, and I’m looking back at the previous year.

A lot has happened this past year. In January, I got down on one knee in a dog park in San Mateo to present Anne with a “ring” of beads on elastic string, asking her to marry me. The following month, the two of us were married on St. Valentine’s Day by Rev. Gina Pond at PantheaCon. Later that night, I gave Anne her first degree initiation, making her a “duly consecrated witch and priest,” in the Circle of Cerridwen and she was one of the priests that gave me my third degree initiation, ordaining me as a “high priest and teacher.”

For most of Spring and Summer, things were pretty stable. I had been able to get another student loan to help pay off my outstanding balance so I could continue with seminary for the fall semester. But at the beginning of that semester I found out why I still wasn’t getting full funding through the FAFSA. It’s not exactly because I don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but because I don’t have the minimum number of undergrad and grad credits yet. When I get to 71 credits, about halfway through the MDiv program, then will I qualify for full graduate level lending through the FAFSA.

On 31 October, I found Anne cold, clammy, and unresponsive. I called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital where her heart stopped and was restarted. She spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit and another week in a regular room. We’d been married less than a year, and Anne was in the midst of a critical illness. Early one, the medical staff wasn’t sure if she’d survive. But survive she did, and I cannot put in words my relief. When we say, “Till death do us part,” it is of course more than just romantic poetry. But to be facing that very parting — on Samhain, the Wiccan day of the dead — is another thing entirely. One of us will outlive the other, and it’s a humbling thing to go through that.

This all happened during the height of her job search as she’d been laid off at the beginning of October. At this point, I withdrew from seminary and began focusing on my job search. Microloans and GoFundMe paid our November rent, and GoFundMe paid our rent for December and January as well as much of our daily living expenses. The gratitude I feel for all those who helped cannot be adequately described in words.

And now, it’s January 2016. I’m still underemployed and probably can’t stay with my current employer. In order to make enough money to meet our basic expenses I’d have to work 80 – 90 hours per week. If I return to the tech field, even just as a customer support person, I can make in 40 hours per week the money necessary to support us. So, my job search is still in full swing, my seminary education is on hold, and our GoFundMe will be updated.

2015 was one heck of a year, with some bad but a lot of good. May 2016 be a better year for me, for Anne, and for all others we share this planet with.