Saturday, 13 February 2010

Wild Roses

A break from the manifesto for valentine's day. I want to say a few words about the people who venture within my thorny limits and how much they make this new and reduced life bearable.

Top of the list: my husband Anthony. M.E. is very much the 'third person' in our marriage. It affects everything we do...and can't do. It broke some of our dreams. It changed and narrowed our future. And yet, Reader, he married me. He has adjusted to being sole bread winner, care-giver and owner of a much fatter wife than expected...and has done it all without once making me feel a burden or in his debt. He astonishes me every day and I am privileged to share my life with him.

My family: my mum and dad, in their 70s for goodness' sake, who come down and ask if they can help me clean house, or what they can do to make things easier. In a normal life, things would be the other way round and I would be taking care of them at this time in our lives. I love them for never making me feel crazy, or a disappointment. My brother and sister-in-law who patiently answer health questions (both are GPs) when I am too worried about appearing as an over-anxious patient to approach my own doctor (lovely though he is). My nieces and nephew, who had to understand very young why Aunty Jane could no longer romp so very much or pick them up and swing them about - and who have curled up with me for a nap when I faded completely.

My lovely in-laws, who are quite used to me sleeping through half our visits and simply act as if this is nothing unusual.

My doctor, who makes no fuss, doesn't treat me like a malade imaginaire and is always willing to give me a telephone consultation when travelling is difficult, and admit my husband to appointments in case I can't remember what gets said. And who never treats my depression and M.E. as interchangeable. I'm so lucky to have him.

My cats. Who light up my life. They don't expect intellectual conversation, and the longer I spend in bed the happier they are!

My friends. Everyone who gets M.E. loses touch with many friends and learns to treasure the ones who go the extra mile to keep the friendship going. One of my friends makes the time to ring me every week, just for a chat. As if we were having a casual coffee together at the end of the working week. She understands that just talking on the phone can be tiring and never makes me feel bad if I have to end the call abruptly. Sometimes hers will be the only human voice besides Anthony's that I have heard that week. One friend works locally and visits for overnight stays - and never complains when we always feed him effortless pizza, or I disappear to bed early. One involves me in some of her sewing projects, even though all I'm good for these days is tacking and hemming - without her, this would be a creative part of my life that had vanished. One friend involved me in her wedding plans, by finding something I could do in small doses beforehand. Others stay in ongoing, casual contact via email, Facebook and the like - and give me the blessing of normal daily contact.

I doubt these people have any idea how much they brighten my life.

They are the roses in my wood of thorns.

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