It hasn’t just been weeks, or even months. For years I have been trying to do it all, to keep up normal, and not let anything lapse. But, not surprisingly, living like this is not sustainable, even with support.
With fresh clarity, this week has been about gradually finding a new way to be. Finding ways to stop, and question what is important in this very moment.
I don’t get it right all the time. In fact, I don’t get it right much at all. But I’m certain now that I’m facing the right direction, so even the tiniest step is going to be a step forward.
MONDAY 28 AUGUST
Not once this morning did I consider my long list of jobs before heading out the door to take my three-year-old to his favourite playgroup. For an hour and a half I caught up with good friends and helped my son create crazy and love-filled art for Fathers’ Day later this week. For an hour and a half, I enjoyed just being with my boy, entirely present in his world.
The phone calls will wait. The jobs and the housework will wait. But my son won’t wait. I won’t have a three year old for much longer.
TUESDAY 29 AUGUST
Today, in Victoria Australia, we recognise the paramedics that will always be there to support you through your worst day.
Our paramedics are extraordinary individuals who deal with unimaginable cases every day they put on their uniform.
And then they go home.
Some can carry on with normal, but unfortunately some will never know normal again.
Thank you to all our paramedics, across the country, I appreciate how hard you work. Thank you to all our paramedics, I know the sacrifices you make, and I know the battles you face.
And thank you to my own paramedic, who will never put on his uniform again, but will never stop being extraordinary.
WEDNESDAY 30 AUGUST
When you live in a rural setting with animals, life is not often dull. And if it wasn’t already a hectic morning getting two kids ready for school, the third ready for day care, and myself ready for work, then it certainly became interesting when one of the horses agisted in our paddocks got through the fence and visited us up at the house.
Naturally, the kids found it very amusing, and even more so when we eventually tracked the hoof-prints all around our front yard.
Carrots are now off the dinner menu for the rest of the week on account of having to quickly lure Jack the horse back into his rightful area.
THURSDAY 31 AUGUST
A trip to the GP this morning allowed my older two children a rare and welcome break from their school day. Our new doctor was kind and gentle, she was respectful and caring, and she listened to the stories they wanted to tell.
And when my daughter began to open up about the night she witnessed her father unravelling under the tightest grip of his PTSD, the doctor took it all in and gave back to my daughter every reassurance, while I sat there numbly, feeling like we were talking about someone else’s life, someone else’s husband.
This was the first step in getting some professional support for myself and my three children, a family worn down by six years of living alongside PTSD.
FRIDAY 1 SEPTEMBER
A busy day at work, keeping my mind active on anything other than the pressures of my children and the stresses of a husband in a psychiatric ward.
Why am I still struggling to switch off?
My daughter and I set ourselves the challenge this weekend of mastering the ride-on lawnmower and tackling our rugged yard. It wasn’t the most elegant endeavour, but it ended up being the most fun I’ve had all week!
Amazing how such a simple task, with such a minor result, can bring such satisfaction and peace of mind.
And my mood was only lifted further when a wonderful friend surprised me with a timely load of wood for my indoor wood heater. I reminded her that I don’t like surprises. And she reminded me that to surprise me would be the only way to avoid me saying no to her support!
Amazing how such a simple gesture, with such a heartfelt intention, can mean the absolute world to me.