Last night I woke up crying, every time I laid back down I started crying again. I am lonely, no, make that I am very lonely. In the daylight I can be quite philosophical about all of this, my progress towards acceptance, my making a new life for myself. But in my night I am not so able to see the progress, only the aching hole where my husband and family life used to be. Because it was duty in a way that kept my children coming to see us, now he is gone they have gone back to their lives because after all, in their eyes, Mum is a strong woman and is coping okay.
I think what tripped all of this was that the small grey cat who lived next door died yesterday. On sunny days she would come over and sleep on my verandah so it was almost as if she came over for the company. There is another cat left so I will still be on feeding duty when my neighbour is away. But she was my little cat companion and is another loss in a chain of so many.
At the weekend I went on a picnic with members of the Stroke Recovery group that Ray and I used to belong to. I have kept in touch with that group, attending occasional meetings and have some of the members on my Facebook page. I love them for what they did for me when I joined in 2006, they made me welcome, included me, befriended Ray and I and provided Ray with male support in the form of the Scallywags Men's group. It was such a supportive group that in a way I owe my sanity to them and to the cyber support groups I also belonged to.
The Stroke Recovery group also through charitable donations funded the Women's Weekend, a hilarious, poignant sad/happy weekend when the caregivers and women survivors melded together in a group of support for all the women and turned us all into dancing queens.Oh how I wish I could give you a window into the hilarious Friday and Saturday night socials. They partied hard and drowned out the sadness in their lives as they danced the night away.
Being on the picnic confirmed for me that I am no longer in that world. I am a person in transition now, not a caregiver yet still attached firmly to the memories of that time. That hard time that the other participants are still going through. I could sadly see the deterioration in the care recipients as they had aged another year since I had seen them last and I know what is ahead for them and their caregivers. But others whose strokes were lesser are forming groups and going off on close to a normal retired lifestyle, camping and caravanning, doing the things we all promised ourselves we would do.
I could see the tiredness in some of the caregivers faces and see them, as I once would have, dance attention to the needs of their survivors. I wish there were a way of supporting people that was better than what the current governments, here as well as in the US could afford to fund in the present financial climate. Oh that there would be the support needed to lift the burden off the few and find a way to make society aware of the needs of the long term invalids and their families. All I can be now is a sounding board for the dear friends I have made in that group.
What I wonder is the path ahead now? I need some motivation to change my routine. I know I need to exercise more, winter will be a grand excuse not to do so, and all those stodgy comfort foods go straight to the hips...sigh. I will look like a bean bag by the time spring comes. But there is aquarobics at a nearby heated pool so maybe...just maybe, I will head there and see if I can avoid that scenario. Now to find the motivation.