Happy New Year. I was hoping to get back to regular blog posting as soon as the New Year celebrations were over. However, I’ve realised that until the kids are back at school I’m unlikely to find any time to write.
In the meantime; I have a treat for you: eat4me’s very first guest post. This piece was written by fellow ME sufferer Louise Lees as part of a creative writing course. I think it brilliantly describes the experience of having ME/CFS. Louise wrote this during a relapse, however her recovery is progressing well and she will soon be starting a phased return to work.
Now, over to Louise.
She’s sorry but she’s just too busy. Too busy to come. Again. She never used to be too busy. When I was well.
The familiar hallmarks of my return to bed are back. Laundry spews out of the basket and toys taunt me from the skirting boards; Teddy’s sideways gaze meets mine, as though we both know it’s going to be a while until he gets back to the toy box. The kids have cabin fever and dark shadows have appeared under John’s eyes again. Everything feels too hard.
I’m told she talks about helping, head on one side, hands clasped. Earnest expression fixed. What a terrible shame it all is. Perhaps it makes her feel she hasn’t turned away.
The Consultant told us we’d find out who our friends are. Freshly diagnosed, it almost sounded a good thing. Resolute. Empowering. The kind of thing that might turn out to be a blessing. It turns out, it just hurts. It hurts like when you’re punched in the stomach, bent over gasping for air. Physical and visceral. Another loss slung on top of my income, my freedom and the other people who have melted away.
But finding out who your friends are means that we’ve discovered Gems. Wonderful, sparkling, dazzling gems hidden by humdrum. Folk who wordlessly picked up the kids, fed them, held them and let them talk. Friends who brought meals, pegged out the washing and dragged my husband out for a beer. People who brought stories of sunshine and warmth. And left before I was exhausted. And promised to come back soon. And did. Those who just held my hand.
In the sea storm of illness, the Gems crafted my family a raft. They joined hands and hauled each of us from the snarling sea. Their calm embrace surrounded us with warmth and light. Backs bent to take the worst of the weather, they guided us into calmer waters until smiles came back to my children’s faces and the colour returned to my cheeks.
The Gems are the glue that mends my broken body. Their kindness fills my heart with the strength to press out the hurt of those who’ve gone. The Gems let me believe that this is not my forever, when I lie in my bed alone.