We Regret to Inform You…

In this moment I am feeling defeated. I feel hopeless, heartbroken and depressed. This evening, a lifelong dream of mine died (for the lack of a better term).

Growing up, my passions changed every now and then. Like most kids, I was constantly exploring different interests. When I graduated high school, I was told that “I.T” (information technology) was the wave of the future and the jobs would be endless! I’ll tell you what it was – boring! I don’t regret doing the course because I met some of my lifelong friends there. I did a general first year of university and during that time I discovered what I thought was my calling – nursing. I volunteered at the local hospital and my passion to help people grew even stronger than before. I knew I wanted to help them in their time of need.

Student loans ran out so my dream was put on hold. I moved away to find work and pay off the loans. I found a wonderful job as a unit clerk at the hospital where I met a friend of mine named Debbie. As we got to know one another, she shared that she was training to become an RCMP officer. She was 40 at the time and I told her that I admired her for following her dream. It was always her dream to become a police officer but she ended up having kids before she could pursue her dream. Now that her youngest was getting ready to graduate from high school, she said it was her time. She said it was never too late to follow your dream.

I made countless phone calls, filled out the application, got shining references, got all of the supporting paperwork together and submitted my application in January. My mother had agreed to help with childcare when my kids got out of school in the afternoon. I had spoken to the student funding department and everything was lined up for me to get a new student loan. It was like the stars are aligning in the universe was telling me that this was my time. This was going to work out!!

During my time away, life happened. I got married, had children, moved back to my hometown and worked hard at creating a good life for my family. However during that time I never once gave up on my dream. In the beginning of this year, I discovered that a new Bachelor of Nursing program was being offered right here in my town! I was beyond excited. You see, the closest place which offers the bachelor of nursing is the city which is four hours away. I knew I couldn’t just uproot my family and move to the city to suit my wants. So this opportunity was perfect!

I was told that decision would be made sometime in April. I patiently waited for 2 1/2 months and allowed myself to daydream about all that was to come. The people I would help…the lives I would change…the differences I would make. I checked my email regularly for the big news.

This evening at 6:10pm I was plugging in my phone to be charged. I happened to check my email, not expecting anything since I knew the office was closed…and there it was. THE email. The email that would change my life! I silently walked to the living room and sat down. I was SOOO excited!! I knew I was going to scream and run all over the place! Who would I call first? My Sister (who is a nurse)? My Aunt (a retired nurse)? No…I want to sit my children down and share the fact that you should never ever give up on your dreams! I took a deep breath, opened the email and within a few seconds, read the words that changed my life – “We regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a place in the Four-Year Option of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Collaborative) Program at this time.”

My heart sank, my smile disappeared and I felt numb. In just a few seconds, a dream which I had held onto for 22 years was destroyed. The flame which I had protected all those years had suddenly been snuffed out. I was heartbroken. I reread the email three or four times, but the words didn’t change. I managed to stay strong for my kids when they tried to comfort me. I told them that I was proud that I had tried, that when a door closes a window opens and that I would now find a new dream to peruse. I decided to go for a drive and the minute I was alone in my van…I burst into tears.

Where do I go from here? There are no paths, no open windows and no hope. It’s not just sadness I feel, it’s grief. Grief over the loss of a dream that will never come true. I know some of you are probably thinking “you can just try again next year” but I’m afraid that won’t happen. This four-year program is only being offered here once. If I wanted to pursue nursing, I would have to move to the city and that’s just not possible.

As I lie in bed writing these words, I’m realizing that I still have to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Maybe it’s not too late to become a Rockstar.

Six Minutes

Six minutes. It doesn’t seem like a long time does it? There’s really not much you can do in that short amount of time. You might be able to make a peanut butter sandwich or perhaps make your bed.

Six minutes is the exact amount of time I have left with my Mother-In-Law.

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I wrote that on April 8th, 2021…exactly one year ago today. I didn’t have the heart to revisit those words until today.

It had been a short but very long road. In late December 2020, it was discovered that my beautiful Mother-in-Law (to be referred to as MIL moving forward) was sick. By mid March 2021, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We had gone out for several visits in that time (we live about 2.5 hours away). By the end of March, we were called out to say our goodbyes and assist with her care. On April the 8th, my Daughter’s birthday, we had to head home because she wanted to be home for her birthday. I couldn’t blame her. It was her 10th birthday and I didn’t want her special day to be shrouded with sadness. Before we left, I went to see my MIL one last time.

The morning that I went to see my MIL, I was truly heartbroken. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to do. All I could do was cry as the unforgiving hand of Father Time steadily moved forward. Half an hour…20 minutes…15 minutes…10 minutes…six minutes. It was then that I pulled out my phone and wrote those words. They only took a moment to write (thank you talk to text!) but I knew I would want to write about my thoughts and experience. Words always help.

In that moment, all I could think about was time and how it doesn’t slow down or stop for anyone. In that moment, I had six minutes left with her. Six minutes. Six minutes is nothing and yet, in that moment, it was everything. What can one do in six minutes? Make a sandwich…get dressed…watch a few commercials? Six minutes…is nothing. Yet it was EVERYTHING.

I spent one of those minutes panicking over what I should do or what I should say. I knew I had already said everything to her before she lost consciousness. But I wanted to be sure that she knew how much she mattered to me…to my kids…to my Husband (her Son)…to all of us. I wanted her to know that she would be remembered. I wanted to tell her that I would take care of her Son and her Grandchildren. I wanted to ask her to watch over my kids when I wasn’t near them. I wanted to beg her to fight (a battle that I already knew was over). I wanted to scream at the doctors and nurses to make her well (though I knew they couldn’t). I prayed to God to stop time for just a few more minutes. Please…just a few more minutes. Please.

I looked at the clock. Two minutes left. I knelt by her bed, took her hand in mine and held it against my face. I told her how very much we all loved her and how much we would miss her. I kissed her head, held my cheek against hers until it was time to go. As I was leaving the room I hesitated and glanced back one more time…then, with tears streaming down my face, I joined my family who were waiting in the van.

As I joined my family and we started the drive home, I couldn’t help but notice what was going on around me. A man was heading into the grocery store with some reusable bags, there were lots of people in the drive thru at McDonald’s waiting to order their lunch and a couple were walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk. None of them knew what was happening…what was going to happen. None of them knew the pain and sorrow we were all feeling. Life was going on and I couldn’t help but feel angry. Two days later, we lost my beloved Mother-in-Law.

Time is so precious. Life is precious. We should always do our best to never waste time. Time is always moving forward. We’ve all heard the saying “never wish your time away” and that saying means more to me now then it ever did. What I wouldn’t give to have those six minutes back.

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I spent a long time editing this before finally posting!