My head was buried in books for thirty years, I moved from one exam to another as I jumped academic hurdles to help me up the rungs of my profession ladder.
I was, nursing.
Nursing was me.
Not being able to nurse spilt my heart in two; the loss of my career added another pebble to my bucket of despair.
To renew my nursing registration I need 450 practice hours in the bank and five days of education during the previous three years. So each year with shaky fingers I do the sums before I re-register. Just in-case! In counselling I stare at my hands and shuffle my fingers as I try to deal with another fast approaching loss:
What will I do when I am not a nurse; not registered. I will be empty (I tap my heart).
But in two years I learn to swim to the surface of the bucket. I have time to watch birds play, go to the seaside with friends, keep my new found green fingers busy growing onions and sunflowers at the allotment, plan trips to the theatre, meet up with my cousin as he and his team cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats; start volunteering to use my life skills in a different way; laugh.
The time has come; I am out of date. No practice hours stack up when I do the sums. The letter arrives. I open it, read it, fold it in half and slide it into a drawer.
I walk down to the allotment as the summer breeze messes my hair, huge 'Jacky O' sunglasses hide my smiling eyes as I stop to watch a blue dragonfly...