A little while ago (having enjoyed good health all my life) I wrote a gung-ho piece about being ill and how unused I was to it. I finished off by arrogantly saying I wasn’t going to listen to anyone and I would carry on at a hundred miles an hour as I was intent on getting my old life back. Famous last words. It doesn’t always happen that way.
I hate to tell you how many of my friends have fallen over – both literally and metaphorically – recently.
The truth is that maybe seventy is the end of middle age! It is also the start of bits wearing out. Knees, hips – which can fortunately be replaced. But there are other items – liver, kidneys, lungs, hearts, jaws – which are not so easily replaced or even mended!
Much conversation goes on within our very caring little group about how we can most help our friends who are going through the various demises of the body. Or, for that matter, of their partners.
We have friends who are being sorely tested and we agonise about how we can help. What is the very best support that we can give them? Not only now, but in the days to come.
Each situation is different and of course there are no stock answers. But in my mind caring friends taking an interest and just listening is very helpful. After all a chronic disease is a very alone thing.
The last thing one wants to do is ask for help from one’s children. They are busy with their own lives to manage and we don’t want to burden them. Pathetic as I am I personally see this as failure. Ridiculous really but somehow we all seem to have been instilled with a culture which tells us to put everyone in front of ourselves. And yet if we don’t look after ourselves how can we help others?
For anyone else who might be going through the same thing I want to share something my 48 year old son said to me recently which made a great deal of sense to me.
“Mum you know I love you… but I can’t see through walls. I have a very demanding job, three teenage children and a wife – most of the time I have to spread myself very thin. Instead of sitting at home alone and worried please Mum make your needs known to me. I will be the first to try and address them.”
That is so true and so sensible. How can our children be clairvoyants? It is not normal for us to ask them for help so why should we expect them to be extra sensitive to us? If you don’t happen to have children, you can certainly relate this to your dearest friends who do.
So, I would say if you do need help – spell it out. Discuss it and you are half way to solving it.
That’s all I wanted to say. Good health everybody! BPG