My best friend, Wendy, graduated with her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) this week.
After she finished her first year, the youngest child was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 22 months. Wendy's husband and I both encouraged Wendy to try and continue with her studies because it would give her something positive to focus on, even while she was coping with her daughter's chemo treatments. Wendy finished her 2nd year on schedule, and became a Registered Nurse. I still don't know how she did it - but she did. And her daughter is a healthy, happy cancer survivor!
Wendy got a job as a nurse, and began her career. Over the years, she changed jobs and the types of nursing she was doing as she looked for what interested her most, eventually feeling compelled to do hospice nursing. I told her I thought she'd be brilliant at that, and she is. She decided to continue her studies to get her bachelor's degree so that she would later have the option of pursuing her master's if she wanted to do so.
So with four active children (who today range in age from 19 to 11), a supportive husband, a house that needs upkeep and cleaning, AND a full-time nursing job, Wendy enrolled in a program that would let her complete her degree while studying mostly at home (for the nursing courses that required hands-on work, she teamed up with a local hospital so that someone could observe her work and sign off on it so she could get credit for the courses). While she's been working on her degree, she's been juggling every imaginable challenge, from the mundane every-day-living stuff all families have to contend with, to having four kids with their own health issues. (She even made time to come and visit me in Paris - twice!) She's the kind of person who is very self-motivated and loves to learn... although some courses drove her nuts (especially this last semester when she had an English course that required her to write paper after paper after paper). Even on my best day, I was never the kind of student she is.
It's taken her several years, and Lord knows it has been anything but easy... but SHE DID IT. She GRADUATED!
Which just proves that when you really want something badly enough -- like a good education -- you will move mountains and do anything you need to do in order to achieve it. THAT is what I call bold living.
I am just so proud of my friend, and in awe of her ability to persevere despite sometimes overwhelming circumstances. She doesn't usually even have time to read my blog (although I'll tell her to go and read this post). She probably doesn't realize it, but SHE has been MY inspiration for most of the past 30 years we've been friends. I feel so honored to have her as my best friend and the sister of my soul.
I love you, Wen. Take your much deserved break now. And then go kick some serious nursing butt when you're ready. See you soon, and then we'll REALLY celebrate!