Knowledge and wisdom were both present in my interviews, in my case report, and in my own professional development. I gave "Sophie" and Athena leading roles in my final case narrative, two old friends sitting and talking about what meaning they had gathered across their lives from grief and growth.
The case study that emerged produced evidence of transformation. Non-emotional participants had an emotional reaction. Those with little power had the most powerful, visceral growth from their story sharing.
I also shared my learning openly with my students. We struggled jointly to meet deadlines, to not feel like an ice pick was being rammed into our eyes after unitizing, lumping, and sorting our hundreds of data points. They also realized that I had facets to my intellectual...and existential...curiosity that challenged the meaning they had constructed of who I was, what I studied, and even what roles I was playing in their PhD journey.
My final interview ended with participant sharing an anecdote she pictured of two older women sitting next to each other, having finally uncovered all the mysteries of life as they sat together in their dotage and laughed together over tea, passers-by never realizing that life had taught them everything they needed to know. That image framed the presentation of my case study, and my decision to build my hermeneutic circle with each participant, sharing the case study over tea.
In this mid-career inquiry, meaning emerged. Meaning for my participants, my students, and meaning for me.