Life Chez Dee Episode #118: Never too late to learn
I’m writing this piece, and contained within will be me talking about that which will be a revelation to most of you.
Having left school and further education with no degree and no A levels I’ve always wondered what if. I’ve always regretted not having gained these qualifications at the time I should have, but hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it. In all honesty I didn’t want to do A levels or a degree at the time in my life when I was supposed to. I’d had enough of education and just wanted to work, not having an idea of what I wanted to do either. And it worked out, to be honest, with me having had two very good and interesting jobs, but I gave up work when I had the children. That I have no regrets about … I have never missed any of the milestones in the children’s lives … not one, and that, given that one of my children died, is something I am really thankful for.
So fast forwarding through my life I worked, I met Justin and got married, I had three children and when the youngest went to school, I got myself a little part time job for some pocket money, whilst still being able to be around for the children. I didn’t want to go back to full time work and miss out with the children, and I was prevented from some changes of career path as I didn’t have a degree.
I don’t want to look back with regret, because at the time it was right. If I hadn’t been working then circumstances wouldn’t have led me to Justin, and therefore my children. But there has always been that nagging question within … what if.
Losing Edward not only turned my life upside down, inside out, and shook me around so much I had no idea who I was, where I was, or what to do, or where to go. Processing the death of Edward is still ongoing, and no doubt will continue until the day I die.
Founding the charity in Edward’s name was something I felt compelled to do, I needed to have a purpose, have Edward alongside me, give him a legacy, do for others, make some good come out of the horrific trauma that was Edward’s death. I’ve raised awareness of meningitis and sepsis, I’ve educated others on the signs and symptoms to look for, I’ve advocated the importance of trusting your instincts, the importance of vaccination, I’ve broken the silence surrounding grief and child-loss and in my writing have offered insight into this world of what it is like to be a bereaved mother.
I have so often felt I need more though. I have over a long while now been revaluating myself, looking deep within, and listening to my inner voice of what I needed and wanted. I decided that I wanted to follow my desire to gain some qualifications and return to education. My life experiences, I felt, would stand me in stead to help others, I felt I had a lot to offer, and so I enrolled onto a Level 2 course in Counselling.
Many will not be aware of this. I didn’t want to tell people, I wanted to just do this for me, and so at this stage the only people who knew were my immediate family. I don’t really know the full extent of the reasons why I wanted to keep this to myself, and this is no doubt something I will reflect on further. I think I wanted to feel as though I could achieve something for myself, do this on my own, for me only. I didn’t want anyone asking, judging, questioning my motives, or how I was doing, or where I was going… I felt I just needed to do something for Liz, and be happy with my own achievement. I didn’t want to feel accountable in any way. I didn’t even know if I was good enough, clever enough, academic enough in all honesty, and again, for my own protection I thought by keeping this information to myself, I only need answer to myself, and I would have no external pressures to explain or achieve.
I worried about my age, whether I was too old to be doing this course, although this worry was quashed very early on in the course. All I have had life experiences of, is of enormous value and life experience is what so often comes over time and with age. I read an article recently which said that if you're 50 and you think you're too old to do something, it may take you several years to get to where you want to be, and you will be older, but you will never know whether something will come of this if you don't try; but if you don't try, several years will still have passed, and you will still be older, and still in the same situation, with nothing changed. It really is never too late to learn.
Well the envelope finally arrived on the doormat with my certificate saying that I’ve passed, and I’m feeling bloody proud of myself, because it hasn’t been easy. The course has taken me deep within myself, looking inwardly, reflecting, analysing, wondering, seeing what things come up for me. All my thoughts, feelings, emotions, reactions, behaviour, mannerisms, body language, have been observed and analysed by so many, but mainly myself. It has been hard work and has required so much commitment and courage to share and be vulnerable. I’m a naturally reflective person, but this has been on another level entirely. The course work has been hard; I've learned so much, both theory and practice, and I have struggled at times. I can write for England in my blogs and journals, but writing academically has proven a real challenge for me, and has given me sleepless nights, as well as many tears, and fears to confront.
But I’ve done it, and I feel exhausted, but the sense of satisfaction and purpose I have had have been worth every bit of that struggle, and I wanted more. And so I enrolled on L3 counselling. I’m now a few weeks into my course. I was again keeping this to myself, I thought that if and when I complete and indeed pass the L3, I can shout to everyone about what I’ve done, about what I’ve achieved. This evening, whilst out for my usual evening walk with Justin, I was having this conversation with Justin, and with myself in my head, and I thought you know what, I’m going to tell people. I want to tell the world what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it, and that I have been working bloody hard these past few months, really hard, mentally and emotionally, and I’m really really proud of myself. That is worth shouting about.
Where this will take me I don’t know, my journey is just beginning. I have met some really lovely people, and I’m sure these friendships with my peers will grow into strong bonds. I have had counselling myself in the past, and those people walked alongside me at the times I was in the darkest of places, and if I can offer that support to someone else, walk alongside them, help them to see that spark of light within themselves, then I know I will have purpose, have satisfaction and feel fulfilled.