Despite the loss in our family, I still want Joshua to have some fun during his half term school holiday if possible. We have missed out on our family holiday on the south coast but we are going to go away, just the two of us – plus four dogs and three cats! – today. I had packed yesterday but Joshua had a seizure and I was battling a headache all day, so we took it easy at home instead in the afternoon. So we will get off today just as soon as we are ready, before the week runs away with us.
But yesterday morning we had a visit from a very kind friend, who brought us a bag of goodies to cheer us up. Joshua was asleep throughout her visit, so we had a two hour uninterrupted natter, which was lovely. As she has suffered a major loss in her life, we talked a lot about death, the sensitivity of others to trauma and moving on. Even though our life experiences are very different, we agreed that because we have suffered a family trauma, that we can empathise well with others, whatever their particular crisis. Therefore perhaps having Joshua as he is, has made me grow as a person? 4 day old diagnosis stays with you forever and those feelings on hearing the words ‘devastating brain damage’ will haunt me forever.
Empathy is a very useful human emotion as it helps us to connect to others, even strangers. My motto is always to put myself in someone elses shoe’s and to treat them as I would want to be treated in that situation myself.On taking this approach, it is simple to empathise with others and to be heartfelt in my response, rather than just saying the empty words. Crying for someone else’s crisis or disappointment, is not uncommon for me. And that helps to have ongoing concern for people, rather than just asking after someone’s wellbeing at the time of the trauma, as I am reminded of their crisis whenever I see them again, when others may well have forgotten and have moved on.
Neither of us has yet found professional counselling services, but are working through our own demons ourselves. Nothing will make Joshua’s disabilities go away, nor will bring her husband back, but over time we are both managing to adjust and make the best of our situations. As she left, I felt as though we had really aired our views and felt better for our ‘DIY therapy’, and I hope that she felt the same. While our chat had not changed the world, we had certainly taken it to task and as a result, had connected.
So later this morning, we will drive into the countryside for a few days away, hoping that my husband will be able to join us by the weekend at least, if his family manage to get Grandad’s funeral organised and if he feels comfortable leaving his mother alone to grieve, which I know will not be easy.