The last 20 months have been the hardest and most painful in my life.
Losing first my brother then my mum within 18 months, and with a global pandemic rearing its ugly head in between has been challenging on every single level. At times it felt as if my entire world had brutally shifted on its axis.
Life changed beyond all recognition. I made the decision to come off all my MS symptom medication (I took advice from my wonderful neurologist, but decided to go cold turkey – I was in such an enormous amount of pain, what was a little more?)
Just as I was thinking about reconnecting with the world last March, it started to shut down. It seemed cruel and ironically similar to the first years of living with MS; an inaccessible world, yet this time everyone was going through the same emotions and fears, shut at home with no idea of when we could all be together again and live life as it was meant to be lived.
We all felt disconnected and yet in ways more connected than ever. My son moved back home for six months, continuing his university studies and starting work for the NHS. We bonded in a whole new way, living as two adults in a small cottage, keeping each other buoyed up as the pandemic played out. We adapted, shared our frustrations, found new ways to get through each day.
And that’s what life came down to in the end, putting one foot in front of the other, and if we made it to the end of the day having done nothing else than get through it, that was an accomplishment in itself. We grew and learned together and looking back on it, we have come through it stronger as our little team of two.
There is no easy way to deal with grief, but taking joy in small moments helps – snowdrops blossoming, an unexpected gift dropping through the letterbox, sitting outside with a coffee watching the clouds pass.
There are tendrils of new beginnings; picking up work and studies again, reconnecting with family and friends on a deeper level, the start of a new relationship.
Right now, I am still in the each day at a time stage, but as each day passes, it gets a little easier.