Just over three years ago, I came to live in the West.
I was not in a happy space. My husband, after a courageous battle, had died from MND (Motor Neurone Disease).
I am fortunate. My sons cared about what happened and were concerned about my future.
My son and daughter-in-law, living here in Melbourne, suggested I move in with them. Their property was large enough for a granny flat, my own entrance and small garden.
I hesitated at first because I didn’t want to interrupt their lives. But I wanted to be near them.
It was a great decision to accept the reassurances that I was wanted.
My granny flat was built, and I settled into Taylors Lakes.
During that awful first year of grieving for my husband, I had family around me who were the best support imaginable.
I knew that I had to build a new life. I wanted to meet members of my age group and participate in the community.
I made another great decision. I contacted U3A. From the start, I felt accepted. The classes I joined were right up my alley, and the friendships I am making even more so. Becoming a committee member has enabled me to contribute to welcoming other people to join this friendly organisation.
My life has opened up in another way. MND Victoria supports MND sufferers and their families in so many ways. We received fantastic support from them and Bethlehem Hospital. I wanted to give back.
I am a Life Story Volunteer with MND Victoria. I have the privilege of bringing the life story of MND sufferers to published form as a legacy for their family. Listening to a person tell their life story is incredibly rewarding. They see the people they love and circumstances they have experienced with a changed perspective. Knowing their family will have something concrete to remember them by helps them face their difficult situation. More importantly, they see the value of their life.
I have also woken up to the fact that I have something to share with the world. The one skill I have developed through decades of teaching in secondary and primary schools and as a literacy teacher and tutor is I know how to teach someone to read. I have the patience and skill to instruct most students. I know how kids and adults who struggle to read suffer from self-esteem issues and limited opportunities. I saw I had to provide something to help more students than one -on -one tutoring.
A blinding flash of the obvious in the past few months (during lock-down!) has shown me how to speak out. My online reading course is published on the adult learning platform Udemy. It is for ESL learners and adults who want to review their reading skills. I have a ‘Reading Program for Kids’ published in book form.
Parents and grandparents can use the book to support a child learning to read. It is step-by-step, child-centred, and the traditional stories included give the young reader plenty to think about and discuss.
Being an author means you have to tell people about your book. At first, I was unwilling to do this. Too self-centred and too scared. Couldn’t the publisher do the marketing?
It is easy now because it is not about me. It is about sharing what life has prepared me to share.
Every stage of life has its benefits and challenges. It is up to us to value our experience and connect with others.