It’s hard to admit that you’re not coping well, but today’s walk is an admission of sorts.
While I was in Mexico, I had limited access to wi-fi, and rather than struggle trying to find a place to read and post, I gave up and took an internet break, which turned out to be edifying. It goes back to the time my mother was dying last year. Mom suffered constant anxiety and required a lot of support, which her caregivers at the nursing home struggled to meet. Neither she nor I had the funds to hire extra help and I took the task on myself. It turned out that I was spending 6 to 10 hours a day with her, hand-holding, calming her fears and helping with her personal care needs. She was expected to die in mid-August from an acute infection, and in agreement with her Dr., we withheld antibiotics as a palliative measure, keeping her as comfortable as possible, but not treating the cause. As it turned out, Mom beat the infection, surprising everyone. She didn’t recover, though, and her decline took many more weeks until she finally succumbed at the end of October. Each and every day I was there – for most of the hours of the day and many hours of the night. My husband and friends all worried about me doing too much, but I couldn’t see a way clear to change things. I’m an only child and so was my mother and all of our family is in Germany, so there was no one else to help.
My mother suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and she could be difficult to deal with. Our relationship was complicated, and I was hoping that by being there for her at the end of her life, we could make peace with each other. That didn’t happen. She wasn’t able to give me what I wanted, but over those many weeks, I lost the need for it. I accepted that her BPD dictated who she was and how she related to the world around her. Slowly I found compassion for her and came to realize how distressing her emotional life had been. My care for her gradually became about pure love for a mother who did the best she could despite her own struggles. It was an emotionally complicated time for me, and there were many days that I fought my own anger, exasperation and disappointment. By the time she finally died, I had let go of a shit ton of crap, but in the process, I burnt myself out, and I never really recovered from it.
Being unplugged in Mexico, I had time and space to reflect on a lot of things, and one of the more difficult epiphanies that I had was that I’ve been putting too much energy and time into this blog. I posted my first Jack’s Walk on March 23, 2018, and since then, I’ve been here every day in one form or another. That’s almost 2 years of daily effort, and I’m worn out. It’s also partly my fibromyalgia. I have a good regime in place (thank you, medical marijuana), and I can often ignore the smaller symptoms, but the larger ones still crop up, especially when I’m tired or overstimulated. Please, don’t get me wrong… I love this blog and the people who populate it. I wouldn’t have come this far otherwise, but Jack’s Walk has been feeling stale and repetitive, and I need a bit of a break from it.
What does that mean? I’m not really sure in the long-term, but for now, it means Jack and I will only be here twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. In between those days, there might be a post about Russia or Mexico or maybe something else altogether or nothing at all. I have other ideas and maybe taking a break from The Walk will allow me the energy to explore some of them. I’ll still be around every day, but some days it might just be in the background. Charly has thankfully recovered and is posting regularly now, keeping us informed about setting up a new knife-making business and forge with ingenuity and resourcefulness. He’s also sharing with us the art of Bonsai. Giliell still shares her work struggles, her beautiful photos, her art of food and resin, as well as her fearless fight against the Patriarchy, so that relieves some of my stress about keeping this blog alive and viable, which has been my goal since the beginning.
Being a blogger was never something I set out to do; it happened because of the death of a friend, but this blog is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. I always wanted to write, and thanks to all of you, I’ve been able to do that. Now, I hope to catch my breath and focus a bit more on my real life so that I can keep writing and maybe even improve at it. My final thought for today is one of gratitude. The best part of this blog is the way the world has opened up to me. I’ve made friends all over the globe, and I appreciate all of them… all of you. I’ve always said my favourite thing about this blog is reader submissions, and I mean that. Your comments, the photos you send and the stories you share are what make this a meaningful endeavour for me. I think of this place as a community founded by Caine and maintained by all of us, and it is still my pleasure to help keep the lights on.
Jack says hi and wants you to know that even though he’s just turned 12, he is not over the hill and that he plans to have many more adventures.