As regular readers will know, my 14-year-old daughter has been chronically ill with ME/CFS for over a year now. And as you may also know, for several years now I have been the head gardener at my church – and I have loved this work. However, things with us are still so very difficult, and the Dafter so very poorly, that I’m going to be letting go of two things that have until now been very important to me, namely working in the church garden, and my job.
I’ve done very, very little in the church garden over the last few months. A team of helpers has materialised, and the vast majority of the work that’s been done has been without me. As you see above, the results are good! (I did give a hand with the planting.)
I’ve already cut back my hours at work (Michael looks after the Dafter when I’m at work), and after Christmas I will be taking six months’ unpaid leave. I think it’s very unlikely I will be able to return. However, although I’m a bit sad about both these changes, at this point I’m very relieved to be able to devote myself solely to looking after the Dafter – and myself. It’s not that I’m a martyr, or that I will be with her every single minute of every day. It just means that the very small amounts of time when I can get away, I’ll really be able to relax and do things for myself. As my job entails helping people, and doing a lot of listening, it is very tiring and I come home just beat these days.
Here are the shadows of the Dafter and myself, looking out across the North Sea at Aberdeen beach recently:
She is a fantastic young person in a hugely difficult situation. She’s very aware of the toll that caring for her takes on the two of us, and she’s always appreciative. As I wrote here, as a parent-caregiver it’s important to make sure we can replenish our diminished resources. There is so little margin now that I must prioritise myself over nearly everything else, if that makes sense! Also, I need to be obedient enough to do the right thing, as I wrote here.
I was trying to add another photo to this post – the one of the rainbow that the Dafter and I were photographing in the picture above. For some reason, WordPress isn’t allowing me to upload more photos at the moment, so you’ll have to imagine it. Maybe it’s read Arctic Mum’s very funny and thought-provoking post about “Happiness Bloggers” and it’s put a stop to more rainbows! Well, I try to be honest on this blog (without wallowing), and I do sincerely believe that life is good, overall. And I’m very grateful for the many blessings we enjoy – our family being at the top of the list. I’m looking forward to letting go of these two commitments, and realigning myself better with what is always foremost in my thoughts and my heart.