Friday, 2 November 2012

The Value of Friends and Family

It's hard to believe we are already in the month of November!  This has been a challenging year and 2012 has gone by quickly in some ways.  I seem to have lost about 6 months and I can't believe we are already heading towards Remembrance Day.  As of next week, it will be one year ago that I started having some symptoms with my voice, throat and breathing which made me decide to go to my family doctor.  At that time, I honestly thought I had strep throat.

It has been a year of trauma.  It has also been a year of learning to cope with various types of challenges and still try to maintain a positive outlook.  I haven't always been successful in keeping that positive outlook and the last month proves that I am fallible with my own faults and failings.  Throughout 2012, I have relied on family and friends to help me through the rough seas.  Friends and family have been good to listen to me rant and vent my frustration with being ill and then with the slow recovery of my stamina.  My friends and family have stood by me and offered advice and support.  Support has come in the form of cards indicating how much friends and family care.  Support has come in the form of visits over a cup of tea or coffee, going for walks to help me get stronger and support through music.  I have had to accept using the piano only for my musical outlet.  My voice is still not up to singing.  The voice is very tired and scratchy by the end of my teaching week and on my off days, my voice is not able to sing without getting scratchy and sore.  So I have to rest it and wait for it to get stronger.  I also am finding that I need to wait before I return to playing the flute.  The effort to be patient with myself as I slowly regain my stamina, drains my patience for other areas of my life.

My last entry in the blog indicated that I was going away for the weekend.  My doctor's appointment confirmed that the lymphoma is still in remission.  I went on a solo visit to see my brother.  I desperately felt in need of a break away.  It was the best thing I could have done for myself.  I was able to relax and enjoy visiting with family.  In some ways, I was chastising myself for running away from my problems and anxieties but on the other hand, it was an opportunity for me to look after myself and help me to regroup and try again.  I returned home feeling slightly better than before I left.

I travelled by train and it was peaceful and serene to watch the scenery fly by the window.  On my way to my weekend away, I read the entire train trip.  On the return trip home, I didn't have any books to read and so I looked out the train window the whole trip home.  When I first climbed aboard the train to return home, it was bitterly cold, windy and rainy.  The day was grey and dull.  The weather was very similar to what my mood has been for the last number of weeks.  As the train travelled along the tracks, I noticed  the wind was picking up and some brilliantly coloured leaves were flying by the window every once in a while.  The leaves were not a steady stream of blowing leaves but more like sporadic individual leaves. These leaves caught my attention as they were brilliant orange and yellow spots blowing along with a grey background.  It reminded me of coming up out of the dark sadness of grief and noticing brief bright colours to give you hope.  The brilliance of the leaves on the trees as well as the leaves on the ground around the trees helped lift my spirits and give me a sense of peace.  At one point in the journey, the train was travelling alongside the lake.  The water looked very cold and a dark grey as it reflected the hue of the sky.  I realized that I could dwell in the darkness of the colour or I could see the water and imagine the waves rolling into the shoreline in a soothing rhythmic dance.  I could again feel myself being lifted out of the doldrums that I had been struggling to avoid being sucked into during the last number of weeks.  The ride home was very therapeutic and I was grateful that I had pampered myself with the trip away.

Over the years, I've often heard the saying "God will not give you more than you can handle."  2012 has been a little more than I can handle on my own and with the help of my faith, family and friends, my family and I have been able to cope.  There are still times of anxiety and stress but it is at those times that we need to learn to reach out and lean on our extended family as well as our friends.  I'm finding that the teaching is getting easier to do each week but I still have difficulty juggling and multi-tasking other responsbilities at the same time.  I need to continue to schedule some "quiet" time into my day so I can nurture my spiritual side of me and appreciate the quiet stillness of nature.  Whenever I make time to enjoy and commune in nature, my whole being feels much better.  Those moments rejuvenate me and help me to return to facing the challenges that life seems to throw at me.

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