- Hello Monday.
- You didn’t have the greatest start and you haven’t improved upon further acquaintance.
- You can be gone – any time now.
- Mr. Spit’s alarm went off at 5:40 this morning. I woke up. Mr. Spit did not.
- As much as I am trying to focus on how productive I will be at work at 8 am, I must confess I’m a bit grumpy.
- The success of today will be largely predicated on my ability to get a massage appointment to deal with my neck issues from last Sunday’s MRI.
- That’s really all I have to say today.
I travelled from Winnipeg to Vancouver yesterday. I sent some photo’s of the journey off to the Handsome Aussie.
He reminded me of how fortunate I am to live here.
I completely agree.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia.
In some things it is easy to figure out how to show love – David moved into his first apartment last weekend, and I could show up to unpack the kitchen and buy him a starter set of groceries. It’s something solid you can do, you can point to, it’s corporal act of kindness.
You can knit for someone, send flowers, pop a “hey, I’m thinking of you today” card in the mail. You can bring a meal, offer to help with housework. Sometimes you can just show up and give them the world’s biggest hug.
And if you are at all like me – a doer, this is your preference.
I use words – I use words always – telling people that I care, what I value and admire about them. I don’t use those words as much or as often as I want, but I am trying. There is still a residual stigma from my childhood – my parents used words that did not match their actions and I still believe what you do is more important than what you say.
So what happens when you cannot do? There are the times that I can’t do a damned thing. The person is too far away, the hurt is so big that no amount of groceries or knitting will do anything. Times when I cannot think of a single thing to do. Times when there is nothing to do.
I pray. I pray for people even when I do things, but I especially pray for those when I can’t do anything. I’m not sure what it says about my faith that I turn to my most fervent prayers when *I* cannot help the situation, but there you have it.
A colleague and friend is in an absolute garbage dump of a situation. There is literally nothing I can do about this other than to tell her that she will make it through and that she is not alone in the mean time – I am only a phone call or an email away.
I find myself walking in a city two provinces away from her, thinking and praying. It seems so little, such faint hope, such a small amount of comfort. It seems like no immediate help at all, if I am honest.
And sometimes, as I walk along, as I lay in bed before I fall asleep, reciting the daily office and praying for others, I grumpily ask God what it is that I am doing and why I bother.
And He is often silent. Still, I keep on. Mostly because when I cannot do anything else, I can still do this. It may not be much, but it is something and when it is the only something I can give, it must be better than nothing at all.
I believe, you know. That when I can’t do anything else, I can hold you up to God, the Universe or what ever you conceive the divine to be, and I can ask that deity to spare a thought for you, to spare a bit of extra care and concern, to drop some kindness, some gentleness, some mercy and some respite into your life.
I had a little plan for how this week was going to go.
Hang on. Let’s start at the beginning.
I have to write code for a workflow engine this week and I have the whole week to do it. I don’t get to code, what with being a management consultant and not a developer, but I like to do it under carefully described situations, and this was a carefully described situation.
The work happened to coincide with Mr. Spit being away for a week, so this was going to be the perfect week to revel – nay – wallow in being, well, being a 14 year old boy. I was going to eat popcorn and nutella and subsist on cheese and coffee and bourbon for days on end. I was going to sleep when I was tired and work when I wasn’t.
It was going to be the perfect mental break for someone who has taken on a back-breaking amount of responsibility. This is, in all likelihood, the last time I will be able to do this at all. I should have handed this work over to the minion, but I did it last time and I can sort of make it work and it’s faster for me to do it and a million more flimsy excuses. I wanted one last fling before I became management. One last chance to come as close as I can, in my profession, to working with my hands: taking a project through the plan, build, run cycle and knowing that I did that. To having a single thing that I can point to and say “I built that.”
I wanted a chance to live a life I used to live. It is all things nerdy and geeky, but in every way I was delighted with the plan, so looking forward to it.
With great glee I told the Handsome Aussie about the plan.
And he – ever so gently – reminded me that I can’t. I can’t do this. I can’t function like this. He was the voice of reason reminding me of my limitations.
That’s what MS is.
I forget, you know.
I forget that I have a chronic and degenerative disease and I get busy with work and Mr. Spit and the nieces and nephews, taking care of everyone else and running the house, with hobbies and interests. I forget until someone asks me if I should be walking the dog 8KM a night, if I shouldn’t get some sleep, if I shouldn’t eat real food for energy. I forget until the exhaustion hits me, until I drop a glass and realize that I have lost the feeling in my hand. I forget until my leg is numb and my eyesight murky and I walk into things. I forget until I get a fever and I remember that fevers cause relapses. I forget until someone or something reminds me.
I honestly forget to take care of, to watch out for myself.
I wrote 3 months ago about how MS was a game of inches. I go back and read that post and I think about the inches I have come in 3 months. I smile more, I am angry less. I’m managing. My colleagues don’t feel like they have to stage an intervention. But this – Mr. Spit asks if I should be walking that far in the heat and I am honestly confused about why he is asking. I am reminded that I must sleep, must eat, must drink water and I want to argue with the person reminding me. I still require that people remind me to sleep and eat and drink water. I still cannot set my own boundaries and make others shoulder some of the work.
I am kindly told that my days of up all night, fuelled by caffeine and adrenaline and sheer love of what I am doing cannot overcome the lesions in my brain. And I stare at those words on an electronic screen, and I feel rage well up in me all over again. I want to stamp my foot and wave my hands and protest, even as I change the plan.
Perhaps I have not moved so many inches as I first thought.