My daughter has suffered almost all of her life with more than one chronic condition. What seemed at first to be one turned out to be three, and the third one had so many manifestations of symptoms it was very difficult to diagnose and causing various complications with even the medical profession not really understanding the causes or how to treat it. Yet it impacts between 2 and 4% of our population.
Today, on my walk, I was thinking about a teaching I learned from my Aboriginal elder and teacher, “Our children are on loan to us.” This is very true. My daughter was only meant to be with me for 17 years. It was God’s will that it be so. And in that 17 years she lived a full life. She was a true supporter of what I was doing, working with Internationally Educated Nurses. When I traveled to do presentations, she was right by my side, willing to be my assistant and endearing the hearts to all who met her. She did a wonderful job in being a patient, for the role plays for speaking and felt the same love that I did for the IENs we met.
As she got older, she continued to be a true supporter. One day, at work, she overheard a conversation that she described in an email:
Subject: NEW CLIENT FOR U!!!! REMEMBER UR PASSION!
hey u! btw i overheard a Philippine girl (25) at work
her: i got a 4.5
other co worker: on what? reading?
her: no listening
other coworker: *Philippian*
her: yes I budged in and was all like … IELTS or CLEBAN?
they all like 😮 ur a nurse to??? n
ope my mummys a teacher, she teaches IEPC and i went on blah blah blah
i have work today, would u like me to connect you to if she complies? lemme know have a good day! love u :*
One of my friends, in speaking of my daughter, reminded me that she was one of my most ardent supporters. This message just proves it. She was my cheerleader. And she supported me in so many ways. Often she would quietly go into the kitchen, when I was hard at work, and prepare a meal for us so that I could continue to do what I was doing to sustain IENs across Canada and from around the globe.
During another conversation with this same friend, I updated her about how I had actually doing and determined the retail price of all of the resources that I had created and just added-on for free. I told her I was astounded by the difference between the value of what I had created and my asking price. I said, “I should be a millionaire by now.”
She replied, “Kim, there is one thing stopping you from that. You are a humanitarian.” I smiled. She was right. I was always giving away things for free. My heart always went out to people in need. Since the inception of CELBANPrep I must have given a million dollars worth of resources to the IENs that came to me. And it was all because of my daughter.
When she was but six years old the Tsunami hit Indonesia, Tailand, and Sumatra. One shiny day she called from upstairs, “Mom, where are the candles?” I replied. “Where are the matches?” Where I had not been concerned, this needed to be investigated. I went up to her room to find her with her Barbie suit case opened on the floor. In it was a blanket, candles, soap, a stuffie and scriptures.
“What is that?” I asked her.
Innocent and wide eyed she looked up at me from her work. “It is for a little girl in Tailand.”
About the same age my daughter submitted a poem to a contest in a neighbourhood newsletter. She won the contest. She had seen a soft puppy stuffed animal, named Velvet, and was thinking of getting it until she heard about a program to immunize children in Africa. It cost $1 per shot. She didn’t buy the stuffie. Instead she donated her winnings to promote the health and well being of children she would never meet, living somewhere on the other side of the world.
She was 8 when I graduated with my MEd, 10 when I started working with Internationally Educated Professionals.
Seeing the world through her eyes, when I met IENs from around the world, but especially the Philippines, I began to see my ability to make a difference in the world without even leaving Canada. It was when I learned that the ecomomy of the Philippines is based on children being raised with the understanding that they would leave their families in order to send money back home that I began to understand the global impact of sustaining individual IENs in obtaining their goals to become nurses in Canada. I understood that in raising one IEN I was in fact impacting families and communities. I realized that I, as a single individual, had the ability and capacity to make a difference in a nation halfway across the globe. And I knew that would make my daughter proud.
I had a dream once. I was in the hospital. A nurse entered my room. When she realized who I was, she thanked me exceedingly. She returned soon after, apologizing, with another IEN RN. My perspective shifted. I was looking down at myself in my hospital room, which was now filled with nurses. More were coming from all areas of the hospital: all of them wanting to express their gratitude to me.
My daughter was on loan to me and now she is back with her Heavenly Father. She would want me to continue my work with not only with Internationally Educated Nurses but also Internationally Educated Health Professionals and Internationally Educated Professionals. God wants me to continue my work not only with IENs, but IEHPs and IEPs. And so He is healing me. He is healing my heart and my mind just as He will do so for your heart and your mind when you are in need. He is doing so because of the heartfelt prayers that have been raised to Him from IENs across Canada and from around the world.
Lilian, my CELBANPrep Writing Coach Trainee, an IEN from Nigeria, said, “We are holding you up!” she was so right. There were moments in time when I could not even hold myself up. Another ardent Indian South African IEN supporter, Rieds, told me, “It will take time, but because of the work you are doing God will heal you and you will be back.” And Dia, my amazing CELBANPrep Writing Coach and IEN from Romania said to me a while ago, “I am so glad to have you back. I can’t believe it is so soon!”
“Dia,” I replied. “You are witnessing a miracle, and it is because of your prayers and the prayers of other IENs.”
In experiencing the passing of my daughter the tables were switched and I was the one in pain, in darkness: with a broken heart and mind. I was the one in need of encouragement and hope. Genevieve, my CELBANPrep Speaking Mentor and IEN from the Philippines, said recently, “Kim is a real person. She is just like us. She needs the same support, love and encouragement that we do.” She is right.
I am grateful, to God, for what I have experienced in my daughter’s passing. I have come to understand, from experience, the importance and significance of social support in sustaining the hopes and dreams of others. I had been doing it for years, without fully understanding or actualizing the full impact of what I have been doing and why Deborah, my shy IEN from the Philippines who is a CELBANPrep Speaking Mentor, is so outspoken when it comes to supporting what I do.
In hiring and training Lilian, Rieds, Dia, Geneieve and Deborah, I have acknowledged, “I could hire native English teachers, but they would not have what you have: an understanding of the difficulties of being an IEN; the trials, struggles and pitfalls on the path towards licensure; and the CELBANPrep Metho
. You are able to provide support, because of empathy, that a native English teacher lacks.”
Life is difficult. It is full of pitfalls: illness, underemployment, stress, roadblocks, indecision, homesickness, change and death. We can’t do it alone. We need God and we need each other. That is the CELBANPrep and IEPC way
My daughter is proud of what I do and the impact I have in the world. She is proud of my willingness and desire to lift up those whose hearts fail them and whose knees are feeble. Her voice comes from the grave not only to me but also to you, “REMEMBER UR PASSION!” Because we all need someone to remind us to remember our passion when we feel lost in the darkness and dreariness of life.