The heart, a tender periennial

My heart is susceptible to frost damage and I haven’t yet learned to shield it from the ravaging shifts in emotion associated with a family member’s mental illness.  When the climate changes my heart wilts, begins to dry around the edges and suffers, much like a plant when frost arrives unexpectedly.  After 25 or so years, you would think I knew how to protect it to minimize the damage; apparently this is not so.

Thankfully, through these same years I have developed relationships with other care givers in similar situations that recognize the signs and help protect my heart from further damage.  These are people with diverse backgrounds.  People that understand there is a medical issue behind the meanness of our loved ones and that we need to stand strong for them in their darkest times because they are unable to stand strong for themselves.

We take turns rendering assistance to each other as the sudden changes in attitude sweep through our lives.  The common thread between us being our tender heart, deep within our tough outer selves that bears the brunt of the anger, aggression, rage and barbed sarcasm directed at us.  We are tested over and over again to hone that strength and toughen that shell while still keeping our hearts soft.  This is not a life we would choose to live, but to abandon an ill person is to kill our own heart, so we persevere.

So many thanks go out to those that tend to my heart at its weakest moment, allowing me to grow again and bloom in the face of a killing frost.

5 thoughts on “The heart, a tender periennial

  1. So many thanks to you and and all devoted and loving caregivers. My husband has had to be just like you, without him I would die. I know how tough it is. Over the 23 years of our marriage,his steadfast love has helped me to recover. I hope it can be so in your family too.

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  2. Most appropriate! It’s challenging at times to stand at the side-lines & observe you taking punches over & over. So many would chose the easier route & stay down for the count. Not you!

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  3. I read back to a few earlier posts and wonder what happened after he was in court since you didn’t update. Maybe you don’t want to and that’s fine. We can only do what we are able. That we haven’t abandoned our sons speaks volumes in itself. I think about doing it sometimes, but haven’t yet. I don’t know. I may reach that point or he may decide to have nothing to do with me. My son’s illness is different from your sons, but just as serious. BTW, do you have mental-illness courts in your state? We have them in NH.

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    1. No mental illness courts (Washington State); very poor support for mental illness here. It took 9 weeks for my incarcerated son to get a bed for a 15-day evaluation before he will have a trial at the state hospital two hours away. This is one of two state hospitals; there are a scattering of private, but they have emergency beds and direct their patients to the state hospitals as well: money is the primary issue.

      On the side lines, patiently observing how this chapter in his life will unfold since it is a slow process. I have several close friends with adult children or adult siblings that they advocate for in the ‘parental’ capacity. We are a breed apart. Stay strong, reach out when you need, know you aren’t alone is our mantra and I am very aware of how special this group.

      ________________________________

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