Sunday, 19 July 2015

The deceased are frozen in time

Does Mum and Dad being killed still seem like a bad dream to me even after five years?  Yes it does but not all the time. I think if the initial horror had gone on unchanging and unchangeable for years it would have been unendurable. 

These bad dream moments don't usually come on birthdays or anniversaries. They come quite suddenly and so are even more painful. They might come when I'm finishing a race and I look up into the stands to where the two of them used to sit to watch me compete or when I see one of their favourite books on a library shelf or when I visit a town that we had visited as a family years before. 

Now my university life is behind me I'm starting to think that it is those "before the accident years" that are a dream and that my current life is my reality. 

Sometimes a noise takes me by surprise and just for an instant I think that I have heard Mum or Dad coming back from work and that in a minute I will see a familiar loving face again. But I know, deep down, that they have gone for ever. They are frozen in time - locked in my memory as they were when I was 17 and still at school. 

I'm a different person now. I have moved on while my memories of them have not. Five years seemed to have rushed by and yet in the middle of night when sleep is eluding me time trickles passed exceedingly slowly. 

Sometimes it is hard to escape the feeling that "moving on" can only happen by me forgetting the fine details of Mum and Dad. And yet they are inside me, they made me what I am so forgetting isn't an option. The love they gave me so freely became the key to let me back into society once they had to leave this world. When I do something that I know would have pleased them it brings me hope and peace that somehow they know that I'm still living the life they prepared me for.

My first "Iron Woman" sporting event.

I have also taken part in – and did rather well in – an “Iron Woman” event organised by the Armed Forces. Rather like a Triathlon but with some tweaks to the lengths of the three parts. 

The first section was a river swim of 1500 metres. The first part (about 1000 metres) was against the current so it was best to swim fairly near the bank where the current is slower and the second part was after we went round a buoy and were swimming with the current so it was better to be nearer the middle of the river .I was in the first group of 4 that all got of the water within a few seconds of each other. I usually do OK in the swim so this was about where I had hoped to be. 

We came out of transition still together but one the first flat part of the 20km cycling section they started to pull away. I just don’t have the leg speed to cycle as fast as the best athletes. I have the same problem in running, I will never be a 100 or 200 metre sprinter. But when we started up the first hill I noticed that I was catching them quite fast and by the time we reached the top I was in front of them and actually leading in the race. That felt really good. 

The course has quite hilly which suited me. I kept on expecting other cyclists to overtake me as has happened before on flatter courses but it never happened. I was getting more and more excited because I knew that I was probably the fastest lady over the running section and that if I was leading going into the second transition I might even win the event. 

The second transition came and the 6km run started – 3 km out and then 3 km back in exactly the reverse direction. When I reached the mid-point turn I started counting the seconds until I met the second runner coming the other way. It was about 90 seconds till I met somebody so I knew I was 180 seconds (near enough) in front. Then I knew I was going to win – and I did!! 

One funny thing happened at the finish. I saw the second runner coming down the final straight waving to the crowd. Funny I thought, does she think she has won the event?  The answer was yes she had thought that. She hadn’t noticed me running the other way and she didn’t realise that I was in front of her until it was far too late!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Looking at different career options

The teaching part of my PGCE is over and now I have just got to wait until mid-July for the official confirmation that I have passed the course. The final lecture was rather an anti-climax as the lecturer didn’t turn up until 30 minutes after the official start time and by then quite a few of the course members had given up waiting and had left the lecture theatre. 
On a 1 year course, especially on a course when you spend most of the time away on school placements, you never get to know most of the other students. There were several people that I couldn’t remember ever speaking to. 
Now the PGCE course has finished I no longer count as a student and so I’m not eligible to compete for the university sports teams or to attend the Bereavement Support Group. Both of these things are rather sad as I have enjoyed getting involved in competitive sport and the BSG has helped me quite a lot over the last 4 years. 
As regular readers will know when Mum and Dad were killed I inherited their house. In the five years since then most of it has been altered – everything except their joint study. For some reason changing that was like a final confirmation that they were dead and would never be coming back. Well now the carpenter and the decorator have finished the work I employed them to do and the study has been transformed. It looks much better than it did but emotionally it has hit me quite hard. I think I must be suffering from “post-university blues”! 
Since September I have putting together a massive to-do-list. It is over 2 pages long and will take me ages to get through. A few of them might come as a surprise people as I haven’t mentioned them before – mainly because I was so snowed under with work that I didn’t have the energy to explore all the options myself before asking others for advice. 
I’ve pretty much got to do what is called the NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) year and of course I’ve got a full-time position from September to do this. The Head Teacher of my school is the regional co-ordinator for a teacher exchange scheme and I was wondering about doing that from September 2016 for either 6 or 12 months in Canada or New Zealand. They don’t have many applicants so I would have a good chance of being chosen. 
Another option would be doing my NQT year then taking my Doctorate (3 years) before returning to teaching. It is easier to do this at the start of my career rather than later on so I am quite tempted. 
I am still wondering if a career in the Armed Forces might suit me. Senior military staff have encouraged me several times to go in as a graduate and it is a rewarding career in so many ways. It has also been suggested that I could go down the route of full-time modelling. The boss of the agency says I have the looks and body to make £50K a year which is more than I would get teaching.