Last time I wrote Terry had come home from a long stint in hospital, and I was caring for him, with lots of support from many wonderful people. This continued on through January, until he had to go into hospital again. Despite my best efforts and despite all the help we had, I knew I couldn’t look after him at home any more. So he moved from hospital into residential care.
Oh my goodness, that paragraph covers so much heart ache, anguish, grief, anger and emotional turmoil. At the same time I had to come to grips with the complicated funding model for aged care in Australia, and that involved appointments with my lawyer, financial advisor, banks and Centrelink, the governmental department that deals with social services.
I don’t want this post to be about those dark times; be assured that I am okay now. I do want to tell you about three phrases that have helped me get through. Maybe something will resonate.
The first is from Brene Brown’s “Atlas of the Heart”. When you have so many emotions swirling about it is a relief to be able to name them, and this atlas helped me define what I was feeling. However the powerful phrase came from her introduction ~ The centre will hold. No matter how many emotional skirmishes and battles were happening within me, I knew that my centre, my core, the essence of who I am would hold firm. That I would find my feet and get through this. It was my crucial mantra and it helped me during some dark times.
The second phrase was one of my own making ~ Dragonfly time. December and January seems to be dragonfly season as I saw so many of these lovely creatures on my walks. To watch them flit around calmed my mind. Then I found that dragonflies symbolise change, transformation and adaptability, which was exactly what we were, and are, going through.
Terry has been in his new home for about 6 weeks now, and he is becoming more settled. However, it hasn’t been an easy time for him, or me. I know it is the best place for him, and our only option, but unfortunately he can’t always see it that way. It helps me to understand that this transition time can take a couple of months. On particularly difficult visits I remind myself that it’s dragonfly time, a transition time.
The third phrase comes from Ryan Holiday:
Success, at the end of your life, is a crowded table—family and friends that want to be around you.
I don’t need to wait to the end of my life ~ I know my table has so many wonderful people around it. People who care for me, who listen, who understand. People who not only say “How’s Terry going?” but also ask “And how are you?”. I have friends who have said to ring them whenever I need to, even in the middle of the night. Or walk with me. Or visit Terry with me. Or feed me. Or drop in for a cuppa and help me work my way through all of this. Or organise surprise picnics. Or who are helping me work out what my new life is like. And who understand when I say “Thanks, but I just need to be alone.”
I have a very crowded table, and I am so grateful for every person sitting there.
And lastly I want to give a shout out for books. I love reading whatever my state of mind, but to be able to drop into someone else’s world has kept me upright over the last few months. To escape into a book is a tired phrase, but so true. All praise to books, authors and libraries.