I'll keep on the theme Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation has run on their facebook page for International Widows Day - what I've achieved since Ian died.
Well, working on achieving.
One of the big changes I made was to go back to school. I knew my job would end about 12 months after Ian died, and I opted to work towards a change in direction. But one semester into my 2-year accounting course, I was a bit unsure if it was the right direction, even though I'm getting decent marks and enjoy the studies.
I stumbled across Financial Counselling, which here in Australia is offered as a free service by social services organisations to help those struggling with low income and/or significant debt - a combination I've heard so many are facing in the widow community. The financial counsellor works with the client to come up with strategies and plans to stretch what they have as far as possible, or get on a path of paying off the debt. So I added a 6 month, on-line course for that this time last year. Insanity - two qualifications at the same time!
This week, I got over a hump that had me quite negative about the financial counselling - I passed the counselling skills face to face practical module. I tried last year, but John was sick on the assessment day, barred from child care and I didn't have alternate care for him. Then I personally found the alternate assessment they set up for me a negative experience that had me struggling to even fire up the course page. So I opted to repeat the face to face element. It looked like this round was going to be a "John is sick, I can't do it" repeat, but thankfully I had another care option this year.
I've learnt a bit about myself doing both qualifications - I enjoy the numbers and strategy/technique side of both. I am soooo not a counsellor who could do one on one counselling, but I have a passion for financial literacy and improving that generally in the community.
So I'm now on the homeward run to wrap up the financial counselling course since I've only got 7 weeks to go. And this is the community education module, and my face to face widows group have agreed to sit through a session so I can complete the requirement! You never know how your widow friends will help you, or need your help.
It will be interesting when I finish; something I've thought about as I've progressed through this short qualification. This will be one of the first big, significant taking the bull by the horns life directions change things I've done, start to finish, since Ian died. That he never knew about, since I had no idea I'd go down this path and probably never would have if he hadn't left us.
And I'm not sure how I'll react when it's complete and I have that parchment in my hand.