I turn 57 today. It has been the most difficult year of my life thus far. In 4 days, it will be 7 months since I lost by first born son, my beautiful Brendan Bjørn. In 12 days it will be my first Christmas without him since 2004.
Yes, it has been, and continues to be, one hell of a difficult year.
December 13th is St. Lucia Day in Scandinavia, celebrating St. Lucy. The ceremony begins with a girl dressed in a white gown with a wreath of candles on her head to symbolise bringing light into a time of darkness. In more ancient Norse times, it was a celebration of the winter solstice complete with big bonfires to bring the light and scare off evil spirits. As with many beliefs over the passing of time, the old ideas merged with the new, and here we are celebrating the bringing of light into dark times on my birthday. I’ve always found that pretty special.
So, for the day that it is, in all of the above ways, I am trying to shine some light on the darkness in my life.
The darkness: I’m 57, I have a number of health issues which keep me from being as physically-able as I have normally been and desperately want to be once more. I just hope I can be. I am trying to manage those conditions as best I can, with medications, but they still leave me not all I want to be. Or should I say, not all that I NEED to be.
Caring for my son for so many years without the proper supports has taken its toll on my body and my health. Let’s make no mistake about that fact.
I need to reinvent myself now that the caring job is over.
I’m barely scraping by financially. I need to earn an income again, so many years after leaving my professional career to become a full time carer to Brendan Bjørn. How do I do that when I’ve been ‘unemployed’ for so long? When I have such health issues? When I’m so tired and who I am has changed so much? When I’m 57 and looking to compete in a market with much younger, up to date and relevant candidates? When I’m still so lost as what to do and where to do it?
How do I reinvent myself now?
This reinventing myself isn’t just about me, contrary to how it sounds. If it was just about me, I’d likely ride off into the sunset and live a quiet, albeit poor, life somewhere remote until my days were done. I’d happily live in a log cabin in the mountains and watch nature go by, sunrise to sunset, while I write my memoirs and other musings. And part of me does want that for myself – to be surrounded by peaceful, beautiful nature with mountains, forests and lakes which bring peace to my soul.
But no, this is, to the greatest extent, about my younger son, Declan. He needs me to be all I can be for him now. I need to provide the life, the home, the stable foundation that he so rightly deserves. This is where reinventing myself comes into play. This next chapter…or new book altogether…is for him. And so, I hope my health can be what it needs to be in order for me to reinvent myself. I’m scared it won’t or can’t be. It must be, though, I keep telling myself. It simply must be.
I just wish St. Lucia would shine the light a bit brighter so I could see what to do.