In 2009 my Dad got sick and we nearly lost him, my world as I knew it somehow shifted focus. I love the bones of my Dad, he’s my hero and then in an instant I became the responsible adult. He wasn’t himself , drugged up raving & hallucinating, chasing the dragon and complaining about the hospital food and “those bloody peas”. My Dad seldom complains and peas have never been an issue “or so I think” but somehow a simple green vegetable brought out this cranky side we had never seen before.
I continued to do the daily grind in London, heading to the hospital every evening after work. My relationship with my Mum changed during this time, we became friends. I began to see Mum as a person in her own right not just as part of a pair and someone I had taken for granted (as we all do) for most of my life. She was often quite vulnerable and confided in me a lot and was terrified that she would lose her lover, her husband, her friend, my Dad….. I still tear up remembering the night before his triple bypass when she was sad in her room, they never spent nights apart in 40+ years of marriage. I suggested she sleep in my room, during the night she was sobbing to herself beside me and I said “he’ll be fine Mum, the prognosis is good” and she replied “I know but what if he doesn’t love me anymore?” I turned the light on by the bed and cuddled her and said of “course he will how could he not!!!” but they’ll change his heart? You silly moo I said and we both laughed and cried…..
Dads health scare influenced me to hit Pause in 2009, it made me realise that I wanted more from life and that I hadn’t really found my place. Yes I was good at my institutionalised city job but I wanted to leave a mark and somehow help others. I decided to stop, look around, slow things down, to take part and give more. To walk instead of run, to listen more, to value people more and to do my life list (bucket to some) and start ticking things off now rather than at the end. To say Yes more, to smile more, to share my knowledge and experience and just to be more. Up until that point it was warp speed for me, but I realised I wasn’t happy. I had lost the joy somehow and I was on autopilot, everyday was groundhog day with a sprinkle of variety and I had been enticed by the money treadmill where I was a number in a sea of numbers. I needed to question my life and what I really wanted. I still don’t know what I really want, but I do know what I don’t want and that is to regret not having lived my life my way because I was too busy making a living that I forgot to make a life……..