Long time readers of my blog may remember that when I was working and looking after my parents, I was also studying for a BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care with the Open University. http://www.open.ac.uk/ I graduated in July 2017 and I was scheduled to attend my graduation ceremony in October 2017. Unfortunately on the day of the event my Mom wasn’t well and I couldn’t attend.
I was re-scheduled to attend the following October however my Mom was in hospital and I was staying with her in the hospital and I therefore missed the ceremony. I contacted the Open University to explain why I had missed this second ceremony and they were very supportive of my situation and arranged for me to re-book for October 2019. Little did I know that by then I would have lost both of my parents.
As graduation day drew closer I really didn’t feel like going at all. The two people who had gone through all the studying with me, read all my assignments, revised for exams with me weren’t here anymore. Himself, my cousins and my friends all told me to attend. After so much studying and having to cancel twice before it would be a shame to not go and celebrate my achievement and that Mom and Dad would be watching from above, so proud of me.
I was allowed one guest at the ceremony so himself was with me. It felt amazing to be amongst all these people of various ages who had all managed to study and pass a degree in all manner of subjects whilst working, bringing up a family, caring for someone or suffering ill health themselves. It wasn’t a straight laced and staid event, it was full of fun, laughter and shared community spirit. Afterwards there was glasses of Prosecco to celebrate and you know how much I love fizz!
We then met up with my wonderful cousins for a fabulous celebration afternoon tea at The Ivy in Birmingham. https://theivybirmingham.com/ followed by cocktails at The Cosy Club https://cosyclub.co.uk/location/birmingham/ which was a favourite haunt of mine when I worked in the city. It was an unexpectedly wonderfully happy day and although I did shed a few tears, I really did feel the presence of my parents.
Autumn has well and truly set in although we have moved from very warm days to very cold days and most things in-between. This particular week of October is a mixed emotional time for us. The 22nd is my parents Wedding Anniversary and last Sunday they were married 57 years. No big, expensive weddings back then; church and then for a hooley at the pub with good friends and family. I’m not sure this year that Mom took much notice of the anniversary. We chatted about the wedding, they talked about the guests, the dancing and going home to Ireland on honeymoon but this year Mom was not in the mood to sign the anniversary card for Dad. I just couldn’t seem to catch her at the right time to do this. However, she was more than happy with the Rose I arranged to send to Dad from her. Not that he minded not having the card of course, he was only too happy to have Mom with him. It was a happy Saturday together.
October 25th this year was the 11th anniversary of my Sister’s passing. It was sudden, a shock and I feel we all changed in some way almost immediately. She was on holiday in Cyprus with her husband, got a terrible headache and lay down and never came back to us. A massive sub arachnoid haemorrhage. I talk to her everyday, sometimes when times are tough I ask her why she left me to look after things all alone. Whenever she loved something, a book etc she would tell me it was magic. On the day she went to heaven I was standing watching out of the window waiting for my parents to arrive home. I quite clearly heard her say to me “it’s magic here Dawnie, it’s magic” and I answered by asking her why did she have to be the one who had to go there to find out. A minute later my niece telephoned to say my sister was gone.
Friday 27th, today, was to be my Graduation Ceremony at the beautiful Symphony Hall in Birmingham. My ceremony was to take place in the morning and I was stressed about this. I’m always at home in the morning to help with the getting up, the getting dressed, sorting out breakfast and keeping things on an even keel until things settled in the afternoon. Every email or text I received about the graduation made my tummy turn with anxiety. Even though I had arranged for the carer to be here, I knew, deep down I would be too stressed out to enjoy the day. I decided to defer until next year and hopefully I’ll get an afternoon slot. Wow, that feeling when a weight lifts off your shoulders, definitely the right decision. My boyfriend will still come over for the weekend, I’ll wear my new dress, I’ll drink fizz and we’ll go for our celebration meal…all being well.