Finding a kindred spirit for my kids


Standing up isn’t included in today’s repertoire. I think I did too much yesterday. I hope that’s it. I am so incredibly tired. Way beyond the usual fatigue. No words for it. And weak. Of course I tried to get up, I had to pick up Gamerboy when he finished his exam. I couldn’t though. I actually fainted once, and almost fainted again later. So I’m just going to stay lying down. Better plan.

I’m nauseous and sweaty and feel horrible. My chest is tight, my face is numb and my jaw aches. I had an abnormal ECG recently but I don’t understand the results. Pretty sure they are harmless. Written on the strip is sinus tachycardia, multiform ventricular premature complexes, ST segment changes, SR with PACs, inverted t waves (1-4)…blah blah blah. Dr Google says its fine I think. I’d rather chew my left arm off than see my cardiologist but maybe I have to. Or, more likely, it’s just emotional stress and he’ll delight in sneering at me and being condescending. Maybe I’ll just talk to my GP.

I had to cancel my coffee date with my old jogging buddy again. I was supposed to see her yesterday. Then today. We used to run together 2 or 3 times a week…long time ago now.
She got back in touch recently and it was like no time had passed. We made plans to get together again, but I had to cancel for the second time today. Yesterday she wanted to go to Ikea and I had to explain that I can’t walk all the way around Ikea. Today I was going to go to her house, but I couldn’t stand up, let alone drive. She’s realising that I’m much sicker than I look. This is usually where things end…for every successful get together there have been four cancellations, and people get understandably tired of that.

But she was completely fine about it. She said we’ll try again tomorrow and if I’m not better she’ll come here, and she’ll bring dinner for the kids and I. She offered to take me to the doc today but I didn’t want to go. I just need rest. We talked on the phone for a while, and I really, really hate talking on the phone. It’s hard for me to hear, I can’t see people’s lips and I can’t see their faces.

Importantly, she asked how the kids are. How they cope with all this.

She didn’t do what people normally do – tell me how they need to man up, grow up, suck it up, do more, work harder…

She asked how they feel, and how they are coping.

Her mother died when she was 12. She barely remembers her mother healthy…she just remembers watching her get steadily worse, sicker and sicker, over the course of many years…and then she died. My friend remembers the fear she always felt, watching her mother when she was doing worse. She remembers the fear when ambulances took her away. Of hospital stays. Always wondering how much worse her mother would get. Wondering if she’d get better. Always being afraid her mother would die, that this time she wouldn’t come home from hospital.

And then that day actually arrived. All her worst fears, realised. She was only 12.

You could say just when she needed her mother most, but kids always need their mother. There is no replacing a mother. She wasn’t close to her father and when her mother died, she had no one.

So she sees Gamerboy and the Chicklet from a completely different point of view to everyone else – THEIR point of view. She knows how they are probably feeling when I have days, weeks, months like today. And she gets it. She knows they get scared. She knows how hard it is living with the fear. She knows how alone they feel, and the thoughts that run through their heads. My kids didn’t know how sick I was when I was in hospital, they figured it out when I came home. And when they asked, I told them honestly, a little sugar coated admittedly. The last three months have been hell on my kids too. They had to do everything for a few weeks. I slept most of the time, I couldn’t walk unassisted for the first few weeks, couldn’t control the left side of my body…I was very obviously very sick. They felt helpless, and scared and they just hoped I was getting better.

They learned some really hard lessons too. They asked where their father was, why he didn’t come, why he didn’t help? They asked why my friends didn’t come, why nobody visited. I even lied and said lots of friends had dropped by while they were at school. I don’t even know why I did that…it just seemed like the thing to do. They did have to learn how little their father cares about their mother though, that was impossible to hide. Another thing my friend had to learn, very harshly. And she remembers what an awful thing that was to realise. How bad it felt to know her father didn’t care about her mother, and then by extension, about her.

I hope I see her tomorrow. And on some level I think my kids have a kindred spirit, and a friend as well.


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