I recently went to a conference where I met a lot of new people.
Which (necessarily) led to lot of introductions – and because this was a writing conference, it also led to a lot of answering the question: what do you write?
Which in turn led to explaining about this blog, and after that, about my Loved Ones – namely, my mum and my sister. After the first five times I got my ‘blurb’ down pat:
“I write a blog about loving people with chronic illnesses, as my Mum has multiple diseases including pernicious anaemia and type 1 diabetes (with all its associated problems) and my sister had a brain tumour and now her body does not produce any hormones.”
It was a ‘neat’ answer, but after offering it a couple more times I found myself growing increasingly uncomfortable. I found it difficult to repeat, to the point where I had to practically force myself to say it and felt like I was rushing to get it over and done with.
“I’ve got this.”
“Honestly, it’s fine, I promise.”
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are only a Watcher, and instead begin to think that we are (or should be) a “saint”.
This is what it looks like:
Watchers, we are not saints
…. feel guilty all the time. I’m not a good Watcher. Not even passable. Why can’t I do anything right?
… gloss over your hardships and sacrifices. Oh I don’t do much, not at all. Yes I spent all day driving my loved one to appointments in the rain, but that doesn’t matter. It was nothing!
… never share your problems. I’m going fine. One’s got to do what they’ve got to do! Other people have it worse, after all.
“The journey is slow, and it consists of tiny steps.” May this interview be an encouragement that there are others out there too, struggling to love and seeking to give, all the while figuring out what it looks like to do exactly that.
It’s time… for the first interview with another watcher!
The blog series Another Watcher’s Story is a compilation of interviews with other people just like us who are in a relationship with someone suffering from a chronic illness: mental or physical. They may or may not be in an ‘official’ caregiving role, but they have a unique tale to tell.
They say you never stop learning. Though sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what you’re learning while you’re learning it!
Often I come away from a season in my life with the sense that I’ve just learned something: that my character has been shaped, that my knowledge has grown… but am unable to put into words exactly what.
That’s why I Iove reflection. Over the last few months there’s been an increasing pressure on my soul because I learnt something in 2017 that is important, and I don’t want it to dissipate as the calendar flips over.
Instead I want to cradle this truth close as I march out into 2018. So here’s my attempt to put it down in letters on a white screen, so that the lesson might be worth the learning.
Recently I went away, and beforehand I did some preparation. Not the ‘buy insurance’, ‘print your papers’, ‘get the correct address’ sort of preparation, which unfortunately I was rather sadly lacking in (thank you Long-Suffering Friend!) – but character preparation.
What’s that, you ask?
It’s the type of preparation that I’ve discovered is essential for me to ‘get the most’ out of a holiday – as a human, friend, Watcher and Christian.
While this was one of the few times I travelled without my loved ones who struggle with chronic illness, many of the ways I prepared were born out of holidays I’ve taken with them in the past.
These 5 ways are (in my mind!) applicable whether you’re travelling with chronically ill friends or by yourself, and even whether you’re going overseas or simply staying at home and taking some time out.
However, because they’re not specifically about chronic illness, I’ve published them on my other blog.
// I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you agree, disagree? How do you prepare for holidays?
Christmas is coming up, and I want to thank you for following my blog. When you sign up you’ll receive 3 downloadable and printable cards suitable for someone with a chronic illness – and anyone in need of some love!