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"You seem happy today"



I just wrote the Blog report for the week ending 3rd June. In writing the report I reread each blog written in the period, look at the comments and register the points made in the blog. I want to just give the readers of the report an idea of what the blogs are each about so they can read them if they have not already done so. I have been the Blog Moderator for some years and have read some remarkable blogs in that time. Some were superbly written, expressive in character and wonderful to read. Others were less well expressed but had ideas in them that were life changing.


I find that with those many little blogs that Jay (Jayallen) writes that he often expresses thoughts I hear resonating in my own life. Tonight I read the line: " As I have my coffee and enjoy the warmth of the sun on my face I can't help but be overjoyed with the blessing of my survival" and that brought thoughts of my own survival from being a wife and mother to being a grandmother who is also a caregiver firstly for my husband Ray then adding my mother and father (briefly) to my household and then supervising my mother two years later when she moved into care and then visiting her there for twelve years. I am now surviving as a widow with all that life throws at me.


I am not saying I compare life as a caregiver to life as a stroke survivor, it is like comparing apples and oranges but they both have survival aspects. I have known potential caregivers, wives, partners, husband and children who go at the first sign they will have to be responsible as adults tending a loved one who has had a stroke. Being a caregiver is not in everyone's blood. But with the support we can all provide here it can be done if you love that person. Love is all to me, not that erotic love, not that emotional love but the intentional love that wants the best outcome for the loved one. Not everyone can be looked after at home so some like me with my mother may have to oversee the loved one who is now living in a nursing home or care facility. It may not be as hard physically but it is as hard emotionally, believe me.


How have I survived? I have my faith and my church, I have my family and friends, those who stayed through the ups and downs and those I made on this part of the journey. I now have friends who only know me as I am now, they may be supportive in the future but for now they are untested by the events of my life, knowing Ray and my parents only in as much as they have heard me talk about them. They really make a difference in my life as they are Sue's friends, some I have introduced to my children but not all, the occasion has not yet arisen. They are not family friends. I still have some of those too, including some of Ray's cousins who ring me occasionally to see how I am. Of course there are many who have not contacted since the funeral, sadly they were not MY friends it seems.


I have also survived because of the support I have received from often surprising sources, people I have not seen for years who re-appeared in my life. It has been good to see my life through their eyes. Old school friends have retired to the Central Coast and I have seen them in the local area, a couple of people who had sons and daughters who went to school with my children, lovely to be able to message my kids and say "XXX asked after you, they have...kids and would like to see you when you next visit." I love the fact that with 30 000 people living on our coastal strip it is still possible to bump into people I know.


I have survived because of you all here and in the other support groups I still belong to, with the kind wishes all all those well wishers, those who contact me through email, Facebook, on the phone or by leaving messages with other friends. To me support is very important. I need to know others are thinking of me, that I am not forgotten. I am alone so much of the time that brooding on that aloneness would be frightening so the fact that I can contact others in so many ways is reassuring. I have neighbours too that call out to me and just the sound of a voice saying "hello, how are you? " is often enough to brighten my day.


To quote Jay again "There are times when I hit a barrier and frustration seeps into my head." Me too Jay. There are still "poor me" moments. moments when I miss Ray so much, I long for company, I wonder if my children have forgotten me, I wonder if the life I am living now is worthwhile and what would have happened if Ray had not had that first stroke etc. There are always going to be regrets and resentments in my life and like Jay I often just have to sit and count my blessings and be thankful I am here to see another sunny day. In each and every day there is plenty to be thankful for. Thanks Jay for the reminder.


And so to the title of this blog. "You seem happy today." was one of the cheerful remarks by one of the purchasers of the sausage sandwiches I sold as part of the Lions Club of Killarney- Bateau's day to do the BBQ at Bunnings ( a big hardware chain) at Tuggerah. I love doing the BBQ in the morning as I get to say "hello" to the customers, share a joke or a snippet of conversation, as well as join in the happy chat of my co-workers. It's only once a month but I enjoy it every time, wet and windy or fine and sunny, it doesn't seem to matter, we all join in the happiness of the day. And that is something else to be thankful for.


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