My Convertible Life

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Moms Worth Admiring - Part 3

In September 1998 Carol began her studies in Cardiff’s Diploma in Business Administration (DBA), a nine-month degree and prerequisite for the MBA. “The first month in Cardiff I can’t remember. I was like a walking zombie because my heart and my soul were at home. Only my body was here.”

She says she survived that first year because of her flatmates. “They were lively, happy people,” she says smiling. “We were a family. We had our differences, but they could see that I was suffering and they helped me.”

Returning in September 1999 to complete the MBA after three months at home was not any easier than her first departure. “Leaving gets worse. The distance makes you become even too close. When I have to go, it is like trying to part something that is stuck as one,” she says, weaving her small fingers together.

Carol has found her second year at Cardiff to be even more difficult, missing both her family and her former flatmates. “This year has been the worst for me. I’ve been depressed, plus some of the company I have in this house doesn’t make me feel better,” she says, gesturing that she doesn’t mean me. Envisioning her family relaxing at the weekends in the comfortable lounge of their three-bedroom house doesn’t help matters.

The MBA, a difficult, intensive programme, has also provided academic challenges that caused Carol to fear that she might not pass the course.  “I cannot suffer so much and then get nothing at the end.  The grief, the pain, the torture, and then you don’t get what you came here for?” she says, fidgeting with her rings and fighting back tears.  “But I believe in God and I kept on privately praying.”

She now feels encouraged by assistance from two other students and has adopted a new attitude towards the course.  “From now onwards I’m not giving up on myself.  I nearly buried myself, so I have to fight to be alive,” she says with determination.  Carol often spends 60 hours per week working on the MBA.

In addition to her concerns here, Carol also worries about her family at home.  “Every day I receive emails saying, ‘We miss you Mom.’  I see things deeper, like their results going down,” she says, frowning.  “I know I’m hurting them.  I feel guilty because I know deep down they are not happy.”

Carol says Patrick is counting the weeks until her return, but she sees benefits for him.  “It’s good for him because he’s getting closer to his daughters.  He has to fix them breakfast, buy them clothes, do shopping with them – everything,” she says.  “It’s a learning process for him.”  She also believes the distance has made her marriage stronger, bringing them emotionally closer.

Ultimately Carol knows she made the right choice in coming to Cardiff and sees herself as a role model for her daughters.  “I hope they’ve learned to live without me, to be patient, to know that in order to get something good sometimes you have to suffer first,” she says, setting her strong jaw.  “Staying home wouldn’t be fruitful for me.  In the long run, it will bring pain to me because I could lose my position.  So that’s a lesson for them – they should weigh situations, even if there’s some heartache.”

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