By Dianne Kemp BA, RN
Originally Published on June 29th, 2018.
Cohesive: well-integrated, when the parts of the whole work fit well together, working well together, unified.
Since I turned sixty-five this year, I find myself looking back at my life. I think about what my expectations were when I was a young adult and how those expectations match up to reality.
I thought I would become a teacher. But, at the age of sixteen I met my first husband (married at nineteen). His parents wanted their son to marry a nurse. They even arranged for me to meet a doctor friend of theirs and volunteer at the local small hospital. Wanting to please them, I changed my career path and attended nursing school. I never really liked the technical things that I had to do as a nurse, but I loved caring for people. And nine years after I earned my nursing degree, I started teaching childbirth education classes. I loved this part of my job and even developed many new classes (sibling, grandparent, etc.). I also went back to school and received my Bachelor’s Degree in health care psychology – which has helped me develop listening and problem-solving skills.
I thought I would be married to one man – forever. Unfortunately, marrying at age nineteen and being quite protected by my parents, I had a lot of growing up to do. After twenty-three years, my marriage ended. We loved each other, we just grew apart.
I thought I would have two children – and I did – two healthy wonderful children. And then came number three – unexpectedly. Matthew was physically and mentally impaired – that was not in my plans!! But his twenty-five years on this earth enriched so many lives. Knowing Matthew made many people more aware, more accepting, more loving.
I thought I would work with moms and babies for my whole career – but my rebel streak cost me a few good positions – more about that another time.
I thought I would work as a nurse/teacher until retirement and beyond – but losing the vision in one eye cost me my ability to work.
I thought I would live near my children and grandchildren, but I am in Michigan and they are in Colorado.
How does this relate to “cohesive”? I picture my life as a young adult as a large mirror. When I looked into that mirror, I saw a clear, spotless, “cohesive” vision of my future. Then the mirror fell and broke into a thousand pieces. That’s my life. And as much as I tried to put it back together, the mirror never looked the same and my image had many cracks. It was no longer cohesive. And I could not change that. But I learned to accept each change, each new crack. And in that process, I grew. I learned new things about myself and my abilities. I found new opportunities. I GAVE UP CONTROL.
If I had held onto those young adult dreams, I would have missed so much. Life had so much more in store for me and I grow every day.
So, what would the sixty-five-year-old Dianne say to the twenty-year-old Dianne. Possibly to listen to your gut, your heart a bit more and follow what they say. To give up control and go with the flow a bit more. To accept what life will throw at you and learn from each lesson. To spend more time with the people you love. To accept the “cracks” as each one with make you a better person.
As I get older, my mirror has less cracks………………
Dianne Kemp was born in Detroit and moved to Lexington at age 9. She received her Associate Degree in Nursing Science in 1972 from SC4, and a Bachelors in Healthcare Psychology from Graceland College (Iowa) in 1996.
Dianne’s career developed from her love of babies. She was a Maternal Child nurse for 45 years – developing and teaching childbirth and parenting education classes, working as an RN in Mother Baby Care and was the first lactation consultant in the county. She is now volunteering as a chaplain at River District Hospital since losing her vision in her left eye due to a retinal detachment in 2010.
Dianne is the proud mother of three children (one who was disabled and passed away in 2007) and two grandchildren.
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