For all the sadness and anxiety and depression that came with being on my own for those two years, though, there are some good points.
I never in a million years had any idea how strong I really was or what I was actually capable of handling. I've always been so content to just be a wife and mother, doing wife and mother things like cooking meals and canning jam and wiping runny noses and teaching two grades at the same time.
But, as it turns out, I'm capable of a whole lot more than I ever expected. The list of things I learned is long: I learned to hook up a truck and trailer and haul horses through a canyon a lot of people would refuse to haul through. I learned to haul my own water through snow and ice. I learned that I can be the only help available through the births of goats and cows. I can fix fences - both barbed wire and board fences. I can disassemble and reassemble forty acres' worth of side roll sprinkler and I can grow twenty tons of hay. I can manage a divider box on an irrigation canal. I can plow snow with a four wheeler and I can drive in all kinds of conditions. I can pick up dead cats and chickens and deer and dispose of their bodies. I can open the door at ten o'clock at night holding a hunting rifle when a stranger pulls up. I can catch run-away cows and I can wrangle calves as needed. I can plunge clogged toilets and repair broken water pumps. I can breast out seven geese in an hour an have them in the freezer. I can butcher an entire goat. I can be the "chute mom" among a bunch of chute dads when my youngest daughter is mutton bustin'. I can spray a wasp nest. I can manage the pump room in the basement where the water comes in and goes out. And a big thing - I really am able to ask for help.
When we moved up here, I knew I'd be depending on him to do a lot. There's just so much I've never done and don't know how to. But when we moved up here, I also didn't expect to be living here alone most of the time. There are a lot of things I don't know how to do, but I've learned that I better decide to figure them out. And usually, I do.
For all the weak moments I have... and there are sooooo many.... I really am stronger than I ever could've imagined.