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riding a see saw



"Now is the winter of our discontent" to quote Shakespeare. Or just plain old winter, wind howling, clouds flowing, trees shedding leaves and branches (gum trees do that every time there is a wind) noises like banging and shushing and grating, I think caused by the dead fronds hanging down on the palm trees next door. Not easy to sleep while all of that is going on so I have had a couple of bad nights. So has the baby next door who is teething I suppose so she and I have been waking at all hours. I do turn the light on and read though so I am not laying there brooding.


More changes in the church. Had a meeting today and we are going to do some things differently. Oh dear, he is so young! I don;t think he realises that when you change from one thing to another it is harder for older people to rearrange their lives accordingly so numbers are low and there are murmurs of crisis. Ho Hum, think I have been in this spot a few times over the last many years of church attendance. Things get bad, people get active, things get better, same as in any business or organization really. The downward slide starts when everybody sees it as somebody else's job and no actions are taken.


I am having some problems with people who want me to do more...mostly a hazy idea of what would make my life better and do more for their organization! Some of the organisations I belong to would like me to free up time to do more with them. I would like more time to myself to tell you the truth, I want to do less rather than more. I don't want to give up my new freedom to tie myself down by "silver bands". The idea of golden chains or silver bands is to show a person is still a prisoner, just of a superior kind and that is somewhat how I feel now.


Because of my changing roles at church there is some confusion about what I am supposed to be doing. There has been a lot of changes in the congregations with the new times of services and I am switching between the services to find out what people's needs are now and that means that I am suddenly told that I should have been at xxx place doing yyy task as I am a member of a certain congregation. I had that accusation today. I understand where the person is coming from but I can't be in two places at once. I think I need to set up some lists of who goes where and why and contact people to see what they want. In the meantime it would be nice to be taken off the rosters to free up my time to take on new tasks.


Sometimes I feel as if I am still cast in the caregiver mold and that others would still see me as a caregiver inside their particular organization particularly in respect to visiting those who are in hospital and there seem to be so many, it being cold and flu season and thence pneumonia season and so many older people having succumbed to that this winter. I did so much of that with Ray towards the end of his life I am not sure I could face it now. I know people see me as having lots of free time and it is true I could fill my life with more and more busyness but that is not the way I want to live life right now.


It is school holidays for the next two weeks and so far no demand for Granma as spare child minder. Thank goodness. I love my grandchildren and cherish my time with them but I am not really set up for minding them at home in winter. I have a lot of toys still to sort out though. With the oldest at 14 and the youngest aged two I do have a lot of children's toys here. Sorting them is another thing on my winter to do list.


Once upon a time I used to see my life as a roundabout particularly when Ray was in a medical loop where we visited doctors, specialists, therapists etc in a never-ending cycle. Now my life is more like a see saw with it's ups and downs. I want to smooth out the bumps a bit and make it a more even rhythm of tasks and rests. I want to feel more in control of what I do and less at the beck and call of others. I know that it is going to take a little gentle confrontation to assert my needs instead of an assumed availability. I am not really looking forward to that. But in order to do what I want to do, and am capable of doing, I have to lower other people's expectations of what they expect me to do and suppress their need to give me new tasks to fill in my "free time". Never an easy task, changing someone else's mind, so wish me luck with it..


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I have every confidence that you can take control and say "no" when you need to in order to have that time for yourself that you need. I just had to do that yesterday to my neighbor. She caught me going out to the door to our sons for dinner and told me she had jury duty next Thursday, and needed me to check in on her roommate who is totally bedridden while she's at court. I asked her why she didn't try to get out of it, and she said she sent a note to the court telling them she was a full-time caregiver for her roommate and they rejected her excuse. The more I thought about it, the more I resented the fact that she didn't really ask me, she told me I would need to check in on her roommate and even have to change her if she had a mess. I looked up the court information online and printed out the section where it said she could request exemption from jury service if she were a full-time caregiver for someone and it would present a hardship to find coverage for that position, who to contact with the information and what proof of her role as caregiver she needed. I called her back, explained what I had found for her, and told her it wasn't that I didn't want to help her out, but that if I had to leave Gary alone to take care of her roommate, it would present a hardship on me if he had a choking incident or fell while I was away as I would then have to leave him alone. I did my part, now it's up to her to follow through. Sarah

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Sarah, that is very sensible. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to give them the information so that they can do whatever needs doing for themselves. It is something we do here at Strokenet, supply people with the information they need. Yes, some people do tell you what you should do when they just as easily can do it for themselves with a little help.

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Hi Sue, just wanted to replie before I go to church. I understand about you wanting more time to yourself, and if you don't want to do anything that is your choice. Iam not working and my daughter and my husband's daughter think Iam the "babie sitter".Ii love my grandkids, but I need time on my own, so I can rest, and get my mind together, so when I said no, they were not too happy, but Sue they live, and sort it out. My daughter gets it now, but not my step daughter, she feels that I have to do it! Not going to, I don't mind helping now and then, but I like getting up and going for my bus rides and walks.


I think people just see your kindness, and you have a lot of common scene, so that is why they come to you. I went to a church breafast yesterday and there is a lot of hurting people, and this lady just took to me, told me her whole life story (smile) my friend said she just took to you. People can tell if you have a caring heart, and that is what draws them to you.


Take care Sue,



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Sounds like you have a plan! You are way too busy! I am amazed at all that you do. Time to take care of you, if you feel you are a little overwhelmed slow it down a little bit and enjoy life. Let some of the others pick up some slack. Sounds like they need too! Relax!


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Sue: wish I could print out that blog and hand it to Nook Nurse - exactly why I am finally retiring. Went back to work part time to get away from stroke and "help out," turned into a nightmare. Three years down the road, I am exactly where your described.


Thank you so much for sorting it out so wonderfully and simply.


I do not envy you your winter. That is for sure. Somehow things seem so much more daunting. Do try to rest best you can. And if you need a nice nap finally you can have one - uninterrupted! Allow yourself that.


Whatever you decide on for your Church duties - my money is always on you. Be well.

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