This week is the start of a new routine for Ray and I. He is going to go to Daycare twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. The coordinator of Daycare selected these days and although I would have preferred Tuesday and Thursday I will accept her decisions. She especially wanted Ray to go on Wednesdays as there are a group of men there on that day and she thought he would fit in well. As soon as the bus came into the driveway today I recognised one as a former member of his stroke support group so they should get along okay.
On Mondays I am going to do “me time” in the morning and visit to Mum in the afternoon. I will see her right after her lunch so she should be sitting in her chair and be bright and awake (I hope). I have to provide transport for Ray on that day. On Wednesday (today) I did shopping, then came home and did chat and then thought I would go to the beach.
I decided not to go too far and went down to a little beach which is off a coastal reserve. It was the place we used to take the kids to swim when they were young as there are rock pools and it is shallow water mostly protected from the big waves. That was not the case today as the seas are very rough, still under the influence of cyclone activity across the Pacific and up off northern Queensland.
The view from the lookout was lovely today so I stood there for a while and a younger man came and we got talking, just chat. He suddenly said to me: “Are you Pat’s daughter?” Amazing really that as a teenager he lived in the same street Mum and Dad used to live in and remembered me from back then. He knew my Dad died in 2000 and asked if Mum was still alive. We then did a roll call of who was still living around here and who had moved. I really enjoyed the chat, although he is mid-thirties it was like talking to an old friend.
I decided to go over to the next beach and walk on the sand, which I did. The wind was blowing and although it looked tempting I did not walk in the water as I could see “blue bottles” small bladder stingers, and did not fancy one of those long stingers they trail behind them wrapped around my legs. They have a nasty sting, not deadly like man’o’wars and box jellyfish, but painful enough to make you cry. I had a few of those when I was young and am wiser now.
I am so blessed to live where I do, on the coastal strip, two streets over from the beach, in the house that Ray and I bought together 40 years ago. It is not modern, or fashionable, it is a little run-down and needs some work done on it but it is our family home. Nothing like having that as a back-up in your life.
My Dad died on 2nd January 2000, but he lives on in me. I am Pat’s daughter. I am also Marj’s daughter but only in the minds of a handful of nurses and other staff members where she lives in the nursing home and in the minds of those who survive of her old friends. At 92 she doesn’t have a lot who will mourn her passing. The parents of the young man I met up with today were neighbours of my Mum and Dad so maybe they will be at her funeral, who knows?
I was thinking that I would move my chat time but I won’t, it will fit in with the new routine. I think we are a lovely group of friends who chat together now and I don’t want to change that. I am pleased that we have some new people in our group who have only chatted for a short time and only here at Strokenet. This is a remarkable site, unparalleled for friendliness and such a wonderful place to find when you feel surrounded by the dark clouds of stroke for the first time.
The caregivers here are busy people and need that short time together to offload some of their problems, share information, share a laugh, feel for a while that they are among friends and can say whatever they want. We all share the commonality of lives suddenly changed, ambitions dashed, retirement plans overturned. There is also the reality coming in suddenly upon us as our lives are changed.
I know survivors share all those feelings and have many more of their own. No-one has a “private stroke” we are all joined to the world and so siblings, family and friends are affected by whatever happens to us. Jeannie joined us today, survivor of her own stroke and now caregiver to her husband Carl. We have a few survivor/caregivers – what champions they are, I feel so privileged to know them.
Maria is looking for another caregiver chat host. I will do it if no-one else can. But I am sure there are wonderful giving people who can step forward and share some of the joy I have experienced being a host myself. The Good Book says “it is better (more blessed) to give than to receive". I couldn’t agree more.