Click here to read Helen's recent article in the Counselling Directory about working in therapy with ex-boarders
Ex-boarder, E Faith tells her story below:
I am the youngest of 5 children and so knew and expected to be sent to boarding school right from the start. My brothers and sisters seemed content enough with going so I didn't think it a problem and I certainly never questioned it. Of course how they seemed to me and how they actually were didn't always match up!
I was 10 and the youngest of my year group as I have a late August birthday. I grappled with being left every new term, with tearfully packing up my trunk every end of holidays, and always assuming everyone was happy and settled and so should I be!
My mum was strong and sent me off with a tin of sweets (to be rationed every day) and my knickers and clothes all neatly labelled. I didn't realise until later how hard this was for her year on year.
I hated waving goodbye that first Sunday afternoon and I still well up with emotion and tears at the memory of saying goodbye to her. As a result I don't like goodbyes and I feel a sense of abandonment quite easily. I am getting better in my old age!!!
I would generally cry all night and wake up monday with a headache...but I'd dive on into the lessons and the friendships and tried not to think of mum and dad too much until it neared the time to see them.
Resilience and compassion are wrought into boarding school children and I recognise the blessings of learning independence at at nearly age. However I am very very grateful that I never needed to send my four boys away...I could never have done that.
These are only sketches of thought and memory but maybe they will resonate with other people's stories.
I See You
I see beneath your armour
A tiny child inside
The gangster on the surface
The rough diamond
A hurt little boy
Just a toddler really
Take off your armour slowly my son
I don’t want to leave you bare
Without your protection
Let me in
I accept you as you are
Needing to belong
Lay your weapons down
Allow your heart to beat more slowly
I’m with you
I know it’s a risk my darling
A very very big deal
I know you’ll pull me in and then spit me out again
I’m still here
I won’t ever leave you like the rest have done
Let us navigate this world together
Diluting the gangster
Melting your trauma
Into my arms my beautiful broken boy
Mending your broken heart.
Sarah Dillon ©