It’s been a few weeks since I managed a post. In that time a lot has happened within my family, with the break up of my sister’s marriage and the diagnosis of my mum with breast cancer, coming in very rapid succession. In both cases I have every reason to believe that the eventual outcome will be positive and, for now at least, neither problem is needing too much of my physical time. Yet I have noticed a real drain on my energy and a feeling of lethargy that is hard to shake.
At the same time my house renovations have hit the point where I have to make decisions: what colour paint? what kind of benchtop, what heights for the drawers, where will the attic ladder go? … the list of seemingly trivial questions and the stream of tradespeople through my house feels relentless. Throw in a mother-in-law with terminal cancer who lived with us for several months last year so we could care for her whilst she underwent aggressive palliative radiation and who was not expected to live beyond this April (but is doing well now against the odds), then add the general hustle and bustle of life with school-aged children, and the load feels kind of heavy just now.
So not surprisingly I haven’t made a lot of progress on my book or managed a post here in a while.
In one of those strange moments of coincidence, I logged in to write this post this morning and saw this touching post from Catherine Louise Gurganus describing how her current troubles are affecting her writing. My heart went out to Catherine. I can relate exactly to the feeling she describes of having a blank slate between her ears. There is something about stress that makes it very hard to be articulate. The words in my head feel fractured and the wrong ones keep dropping out; I say ‘cat’ when I mean ‘dog’, and the other half of the time I can’t seem to find the word I need at all. In times of stress I think our brains shut down a little. It’s a defence mechanism – if you aren’t thinking, then you aren’t worrying.
A friend told me to take things one day at a time, and I find this advice helpful. I do what I can, when I am able, and try to ignore everything else.
Despite my family woes, I recognise that I have an awful lot of be thankful for: my close-knit family, strong marriage, good friends, healthy kids. One thing I’ve started doing over the last week is walking the dog for an hour every morning – a job that my husband has always done. The exercise and quiet time are great stress relievers. I wanted to share these photos from my walks along the southern coastline of Wellington (New Zealand). These were taken just a few blocks from my house and I find the views both lift and calm my spirits.
Take care everyone :-), and I’ll keep trying to write when I can!