Getting back on the horse

I mentioned to a friend today that I am having a hard time writing here.  One reason is that I am super busy getting ready to start homeschooling again.  The other is that I have always been very authentic on this blog in that what I write about is typically exactly what is going on in my life and in my mind at the time.  My thoughts are still very occupied with the loss of my friend.  Sarah died three weeks ago, but I feel like many of us are only just now feeling the reality of that settle over us.  Grief isn’t neat and pretty and can’t be quantified or timed.

My stepmom, Jane, was killed in a car accident a little over four years ago.  We will never know exactly what happened because she was alone in the car.  In addition to the intense nature of the grief that comes with losing a parent, I faced a new fear in the months and years that followed.  I found myself struck with intense anxiety over driving anywhere alone.  It took me awhile to recognize why I was suffering from that fear, to connect it to Jane’s death in that car alone.  Thankfully, with time, that fear ceased to trouble me.

In those first days after Sarah died, a close friend mentioned to me that I needed to “Get back on the horse,” and soon.  I was in such a fog that her words completely confused me.  I asked her what she meant, and she said that I needed to take my children for a walk outdoors, maybe in the woods around our house.  In that moment, understanding hit me with great force.

Sharing my love for nature with my children has always been one of the most natural parts of parenting for me.

Sarah’s last act was to take her children for a nature walk, and I doubt she considered it a risky activity.  I doubt she was thinking about yellow jackets, and even if she was, she didn’t know she had an allergy.  There is always an element of the unknown in all that we do, we just don’t typically focus on that aspect of things.

A few years ago, a bear was spotted in our neighbor’s yard.  We don’t live in an area that typically houses bears, so I am not used to thinking about meeting one.  For a few weeks afterward, I was a little nervous on walks in our woods.  The fear faded quickly though, as I never ran into a bear myself, and I didn’t hear of anyone on our street meeting one either.

To be honest, I’ve not spent much time outdoors these past few weeks.  I’ve wandered around our property alone a few times, but haven’t really enjoyed it.  I don’t blame that on fear as much as sadness.

Yesterday I gathered my family for a walk, my friend’s words, “Get back on the horse,” swimming around in my head.  The truth is that I did feel afraid on that walk.  The air felt oppressive and the overgrown forest and fields that are creeping into our paths felt vaguely menacing.  I think it’s possible that I created that uneasiness out of an expectation.  It’s hard to say.  I can only move forward and hope for the best.  One day, I’ll find myself peacefully observing all that lives and breathes again, rather than searching for signs of danger.  Just as I continued to get in the car and drive to the grocery store on my own after Jane died, I will continue to go to the woods.

Epiphany Tutorials {giveaway}


Today’s giveaway is from Lara of Epiphany Tutorials.  You can find Lara on Twitter, and  Facebook.  I asked Lara to share a bit about herself and her business with all of you today:


My name is Lara Fenyar and I am the founder of Epiphany Tutorials, a homeschooling site that specializes in interactive online literature classes for middle and high school level students. I am a fully certified English and French teacher. I hold a Master’s Degree in French Studies and have over 8 years experience teaching in traditional and non-traditional educational settings, including middle school, high school, university as well as continuing and professional education. I am from Clifton, NJ, but grew up in Switzerland, New Jersey and France. I currently split my time between Paris, France and Clifton, New Jersey.

My husband and I believe the best education starts at home and that the guidance, experiences and support parents provide for their children are what helps to guarantee their ultimate success as human beings. We also acknowledge the importance of a classical education based in the traditions of Western culture. We specialize in literature, therefore our ambition is to encourage our students to enjoy reading, whether it be poetry or prose, drama or novel. Our classes are designed to help students become better readers but also better thinkers so that at the end of our course, they have a stronger love of literature and a renewed zest for learning.

books2We would like to give one Small Things student a free spot in any one of our 8- week intensive courses (The Great GatsbyMacbethEvelina or The House of Mirth). In addition, we are offering all Small Things readers 15% off of your purchase with the coupon code “15TREAT”.

For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post. For an additional chance to win “like” Epiphany Tutorials on Facebook and leave a second comment letting me know that you have done so.  Comments will close and a winner will be randomly selected on Monday, August 18th.  Comments are closed and the winner is Tracey, who commented, “I would love a chance to win this for Alex, any help with Macbeth would be greatly appreciated.”

Thanks, Epiphany Tutorials!

literature courses