Over the past few weeks, I have had time to reflect on a many number of things in my life. Relationships, work, home, community, hobbies, family, you name it I have thought about it.
Throughout all the chaos of Kim’s illness, and having the reality thrust upon us that she might have lost some toes or her right foot, it brought home, to me at least, that the most important things in life are the things that often stare you right in the face. Here are some of the things that I have learnt or rediscovered from the experience.
Relationships are important. Without Kim in my life while she was fighting to keep her foot, I felt helpless. I went to pieces literally after we knew that she was safe. I got sick because my immune system was compromised due to the stress of worrying about her. We got through it together because we are very close and know how each other works.
Family is important. When I was out of action at the same time Kim was, both Amy and Adam came to our rescue and dropped everything at their work to come and help us out. By doing this, Megan and Ben did not suffer at school and were able to keep up with their studies. Once we knew that Kim was out of danger, all they had to do was keep an eye on me to make sure that I recovered.
Friends are important. True friends are there when you need them even if you don’t ask for their help. They call you when you are down, and help you out because they care. They visit you in hospital when you least expect it, and they make you laugh when you need it most.
Home is where the heart is. Our home was our anchor. A place for family to gather and meet and love, a place for friends to enjoy, and a place of harmony amongst the chaos. It was the norm when everything else around us was abnormal. The garden kept me active when I needed to think and reflect upon what was going on around me. It was a great place to ponder the future.
Community is important. During Kim’s illness the fact that I had obligations to the community in the form of our sustainable living group kept me focused on the people around us and that I was not alone in the way I saw the world. It is fantastic that in troubled times that like minded people can connect and do some good in our local area.
Being green kept me sane. All of my little quirky but important green habits kept me distracted during all the times that I was worrying the most. Caring for the chooks, worms and dogs kept me from thinking of the worst case scenario. Tending for the vegetables and pruning the fruit trees gave me time to calm myself down when I was most anxious. Making bread and cheese gave me a sense of accomplishment when I needed a lift in spirits. Being green gave me a purpose for keeping it real.
Work. Well, I can honestly say I didn’t miss my paid job one little bit. However, I kept working to maintain the home, doing the work of two people whilst Kim was (and still is) incapacitated. I did find that whilst engaging in meaningful work with people that were close to me was simply the most rewarding kind of work that I have participated in. I had a job of maintaining the home, and I am determined to keep it ticking over with help from the kids. Watch this space for developments.
Growing your own food is freedom. I cannot count the amount of times that I utilised the fact that I have an abundant food garden at my door step. Every night that I cook, I add a little bit of the garden to our dinner. Whether it be something I have preserved, or something fresh, dinner feels so much more rewarding if even a little of it is home grown or home made. Call it the ultimate gastronomic satisfaction.
Walking is very social. I have hardly driven at all over the last few weeks since Kim has been home, with a preference of walking most places. Compared to driving, which is extremely antisocial, walking everywhere is a breath of fresh air. I take Ben to and from school which is 15 minutes walk away. I take Holly the dog with me every morning and kids ask if they can pat her every day. Holly loves the attention. People actually say hello to each other when walking and I enjoy my little chat with the lollypop lady every day. I walk to the letter box on the corner when I need to, and other than that, I haven’t had the need to go out other than one very small shopping trip for some fresh vegetables that I have not been able to grow.
Stockpiling is a saviour. If it hadn’t been for our stockpile of food and essentials, I would have been rushing all over the place and been very disorganised. With 3 months worth of basic food in our stock pile cupboard, it has been easy to whip up simple meals for the family when I really didn’t feel like doing much at all. I think I might follow this post up with a stockpile update!
So in summary, all of these things have helped enormously since Kim got ill. I think that if we hadn’t had the support of family, friends and community, we would have struggled emotionally to get through it all. Additionally, if we had not planned ahead with food security, we would have not maintained healthy eating habits and it would have cost us a small fortune to eat out all the time.
I will leave you with this quote to ponder upon. I tugged at my heart strings when I read it, and thought that it summed up this experience.
“Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.” – Albert Einstein