This is a personal tale, so please bare with me. I need to share.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine from work passed away. One evening he collapsed at the office, and six days later he was no longer with us. Rob was the same age as I am.
To say the least, his passing hit me pretty bad. So bad in fact that I had to seek counselling, because when I thought about him and the good times we had, I began to cry uncontrollably and was very ineffective at work. I was grieving for the loss of my mate. However, I did not feel that it was appropriate to go to his funeral, as I did not know his family.
The counselling helped a lot, and the Psychologist that I saw strongly recommended that I go and visit my GP urgently and talk to him about taking a week off of work to gather my thoughts and to grieve. Well, I did as she suggested, and that was why I was at home last week. Thinking, thinking and more thinking. I even had a little ceremony in my head for my friend so that I could get some closure. I also spent time grounding myself in the soil of my garden. A great therapy.
During my thinking time, I figured out why I was so upset. It had to do with Kim, and her MS. Apparently, this is called transference, and even though I was grieving for my friend, I was also upset about my wife and that I should spend more time with her than I currently do to help her out. Because of her fatigue, she has to rest daily, and sometimes when I get home she is totally burnt out, and I have to quickly take over to help her recover. As with most MS sufferers, her condition does not improve with time. I needed this wake up call.
Anyway, Kim and I talked, worked out our finances and we came up with a plan of action. I decided to approach my employer and asked to work a 9 day fortnight. Downshifting so to speak. The great news is that they have agreed, and it should start in a months time. New contracts have to be drawn up and signed before I take the pay decrease due to working 26 days a year less than I do now. Every second week on a Wednesday, I will be able to take the pressure off of my lovely wife and help her around the home. Call it preventative medicine for Kim if you will.
Now I figure that I would not be able to downshift if we were addicted to the consumer culture that surrounds us. The less you buy, the less you have to work. Pretty simple really. Sustainable living is simply living within your means. More about those thoughts in a separate post, because I do not want to taint my friends memory with my own personal biases.
Fair-well my friend. You have helped me come to the realisation that I need to live in the now, and be true to my main value of family first. I will miss you.