Keith has Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. It was wonderful to finally meet him and Sheelagh in London a few weeks ago. This is their story.
When something is on your mind, you see variations of it everywhere. If you have a wee notion for someone, you’ll spot them the instant you walk into a crowded bar; if you are broken hearted due to miscarriage, all you’ll see are babies and toddlers, swarming about the park, giggling and beautiful. We’re preoccupied, and our mind focusses on that theme.
It should be no surprise that I clicked on three links on the same topic the other day- two of them were connected to Module 1 of my #SHCR experience (it feels like a different thing than a course). The other was on Marie’s blog- a regular read, full of good thoughts and challenging thinking. Well, it shouldn’t have been a surprise, but my head exploded.
Link #1- Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability. Brown talks about connection giving meaning and purpose to our lives, and that vulnerability is vital in making those connections. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable means we can be joyful, whole hearted, and kinder to ourselves and others. She also tells us about the nervous breakdown she had on the way to believing that for herself… It’s a very entertaining, persuasive talk.
Link #2 – Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer. We know that Marie’s blog is always worth reading, but this post chimed- reflections on blogging, life and health- storytelling, connection, vulnerability.
Link #3- just in case I wasn’t getting the message, I clicked on this post by LeadershipFreak The Most Powerful way to Enhance Influence. By this stage, you’ll not be surprised that I found the message Connect by gently stepping toward people with an open heart. And, in the comments, a thought that summed up all of the messages I’d been getting that day Vulnerability is like a hug. You can’t embrace anything without first being OPEN.
We spend much of our lives protecting ourselves. This may not be the way to get things done, and, counter intuitively, it actually damages us. Life is easier when we have support. But we have to acknowledge that need first. It’s not a failing: it’s our humanity.
Feel the love, people. Go and hug someone (dogs & pillows count). Let’s all try being openly imperfect humans. No need to pretend we know what we’re doing. Muddling through, together, trying and failing and trying again- that’s grand. That’s how it works best.
I spend most of my time at home, resting. I have plans that I can’t quite follow through on. I don’t have to do a lot to feel very busy & the littlest things wear me out.
So I take great joy from the odd time I can feel like a normal person, when a plan comes together, when I can just go and do.
I wasn’t looking forward to the day out. It had involved organising and gathering and missed deliveries. There was a handover in a wet car park at night, while Girl1 danced a jig inside. The weather was horrible, the drive would be long. Getting there and being sociable would be challenging enough, but then I’d have to drive home again.
Imagine Spurs Fan’s surprise when I floated into the house after the return trip. Delayed by road works and heavy traffic, I’d missed being able to lift Girl2. They were expecting grumpy-don’t-speak-to-me Speccy, but I was bouncy and buoyed. Nothing like a bit of unpredictability to keep my loved ones guessing.
It had been a fine, bright day. The journey west contrasted sharply with the last time I’d made it on my own, in the middle of the night, willing my mother not to f****** die until I got there. (Unusually biddable, Herself stayed with us another 10 days, giving us all time to get there, to be with her and enjoy each other’s company.) Yesterday I could see for miles, the trees still had some beauty, and my heart lifted as I saw the town from the top of a hill.
I spent some time with HH, dropping off the t shirts, the big bucket, leaflets, a pull up banner and the freshly stickered brand new collection tubs. Tonight, she is celebrating, and taking donations for NIRDP. Isn’t that a wonderful, generous thing to do? We only know each other through social media, we share stories of dodgy health, much missed mothers and supportive families, and she thought of sharing her event with our charity. Properly awesome.
I stayed chatting longer than I’d intended, and probably longer than was good for either of us, and I went exploring the new road. All sorts of major archaeological discoveries were unearthed by the road building, but I saw the mundane roundabouts, cut aways and bridges- and look, our house! Reader, I went home.
I drove up the hill and paused outside where we’d all lived for years. Where The Old Man and Herself were so very happy and where the Brother, Mutt and I grew up. I had a wee moment of ‘ahhh’, and then- yes, there’s even more normality-I called in to visit a neighbour. More chatting and catching up, many smiles and surprises, more loss.
The journey home wasn’t so fine. Long delays and random road works. My happy cosy adrenaline buzz kept me going.
Today is another story. It’s 3pm and I’ve just been able to get up. It may not last. It could be days before I leave the house again.
It was well worth it.
The garments are labelled. The tie is tied. The blazer feels itchy on her neck.
My little one is off to big school, with butterflies in her tummy and her shoulders tensed up to her ears.
Nobody else from her primary school is going to the same school, but that is not a concern. Thanks to dancing and sport and the miracles of social media (“I’ve got a new friend who’s going to my school tomorrow too”), she knows loads of people. By now she’ll be getting to know her new class, her form teacher and the ways of the new world. By home time she’ll be exhausted but buzzy. A restorative cookie is planned.
Girl1 is almost as excited. She has shared many words of wisdom (“Don’t bring your school bag into the dining room.”, “Do your homework the day you get it.” I’m still smiling at the latter…) but will probably not acknowledge her sister when through the school doors, or on the bus. She doesn’t start back until tomorrow, so made sure to lift Jake up to the window for waving this morning. A dog’s life, indeed.
And so the world moves on, full of fun and learning and friendship. We’d not want it any other way.