Released On 25th Mar 2019
Maria's blog: Light at the end of the tunnel
Only about 3 weeks ago all parents of year 6 found out which secondary school their kid/s will be going to in September.
It’s a big step for anyone but in my case it felt huge, let me explain why.
Since my husband died nearly 7 years ago, I have been waiting for a ‘sign’ to move and start afresh elsewhere. At first I very much felt the need to be where our life together was, I guess I felt closer to him that way, it helped me to process my grief whilst finding comfort in the familiar and the memories. But most importantly I didn’t want to uproot my daughter at what was already such an upsetting, unsettling and disruptive time. I tried to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible for her. But as time passed, I felt stuck in a time warp and whilst a part of me struggled to let go of the past, another part of me wanted and needed a fresh start.
Fast forward 4 years, I met my current partner. He brought hope, love and light again in both our lives. My family noticed right away how his presence had made such a significant impact on my daughter’s behaviour; she changed from moody and angry to calmer, settled, balanced, more affectionate and happier. I guess feeling part of a family again (as opposed to just me and her) helped her to feel ‘normal’ again, like most of her friends. She also said she was happy to see me happy again, which really touched me but also made me realise how sadly my grief had affected her despite my attempts to conceal it as much as I could.
Fast forward another 2 and a half years and we are soon to move so we can actually all live together. Exciting and scary at the same time.
At first my daughter resisted this (and naturally so; the fear of change and the unknown is simply daunting). I didn’t want to force it as I didn’t want this to be perceived as imposed nor unfair; so we talked it through for quite a while. We went to see houses and schools together so that it could be a joint decision as much as possible. I didn’t want her to think this was a selfish move for me to be happy. I wanted her to understand this was the fresh start we needed (hard for a child to understand, but she showed a lot of maturity in embracing this change).
I chose this time for moving as it would be the most natural break and least disruptive for my daughter starting secondary education: new school and new friendships would have happened even if we had stayed put.
Going back to the secondary school application process, I was so scared that she would end up with no school place until the last minute (which would have created anxiety) or a horrid place in the middle of nowhere because of the application process whilst planning a house move. Well, somehow we managed to get an offer from the school she put down as her first choice in the area we will be moving to in the summer. I felt such a huge relief when we found out! Life hasn’t gone according to plans for us and the past few years have been terribly challenging to say the least, but finally it feels like things are coming together again.
Saying that, I personally feel a tad overwhelmed at the moment: work is full on, I am drowning in paperwork and juggling all the things that needs to happen for the move to happen in the summer. I am also feeling a bit emotional about moving on I guess; whilst I will never ever forget, we will be building new memories, a new life. So there is a part of me that is grieving the loss of this life, it’s a bit like a closing chapter. But in the greatest part I feel confident this is the best way forward for us both. I know this is what my late husband would have wanted for us.
My daughter is now super excited about moving, which is a huge relief! Excited about the school place she has been offered, the new house, our new life. And also knowing her friends can always come and visit for weekend stays so she is not giving them up is a helpful and reassuring part of it.
I hope it will be a smooth transition when it comes to it. All I can do is hold it together and support her at every step of the way. So far she seems to be more chilled and balanced about it all than me! Kids are so very resilient.
I feel lucky that she is being supportive, cooperative and mature about this all.
Being part of a mixed family will probably be the topic of my next blog so watch this space.
For now, here is to new beginnings! Cliché’ though it sounds, time is a healer and there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Maria is a Diversity & Inclusion consultant for a global tech company. She is a single parent to her 10 year old daughter following the sudden death of her husband 7 years ago.