When an illness knocks you on your ass, you should stay down and relax for a while before trying to get back up. ~Candea Core-Starke
Ever get the feeling you’ve just been benched in life? It could be through a job layoff, a breakup, and illness, a divorce, or financial difficulties? Where things seemed to be rolling along smoothly and there seemed to be some really forward motion in your life toward a better tomorrow or a brighter future or a more solid financial picture, now you are suddenly in this surreal place of motionless float. It is as if the video tape of your life was running at normal speed and then someone slowed it to a fraction of the normal speed and now your motions are like moving through quicksand.
I feel like someone pushed the pause button on the video of my life.
I was cruising along at a pretty nice little clip and then suddenly “sccccrreeeeeeech!!!!” and silence. No motion, no sound, nothing.
Life slowing way down.
That’s what pain does I think.
Yeah. Pain. Sadness, Grief. Loss. Regret. Stress. The Common Cold.
All these things, especially when experienced without let up over time, can have this numbing effect. (And I’m a week and a half into this “cold”/flu thing I’ve got going on.)
As a single parent completely responsible for four children (well, three now, since one is mostly out of the house at college) getting sick is nearly a death knell. In fact, most of us single parents really don’t get that luxury unless we have an excellent support system or family close by.
I have a great support system, but they are mostly single parents as well and certainly not folks I can call on if I get sick and need help with my children or my home responsibilities.
So, I muddle through on my own, hoping I don’t catch anything. Hoping I don’t get sick. After all, if I did, how would I even possibly get well? I still have to get my kids into school. I still have to cook for them. I still have to…
I’ve been fortunate. I haven’t been really sick, like flat on my back I can’t move sick (and thank God, no serious diseases or illnesses) since the divorce three years ago.
That is, until last week.
It is like the stress, the fatigue of holding it all together, of making all the pieces fit and everything work, hit me. My body simply gave up and got sick.
I was out all of last week and after two days back at work it is draining every last vestige of energy from me. I can feel the energy dissipating rapidly by noon. I’m pretty useless after leaving work, and I’m out cold by 8:00 in the evenings these days.
I feel like this year has kind of knocked me on my ass in more ways that one, in fact, maybe it’s the culmination of the last three years. There are other things too. Mostly the unfairness of the legal system to ethical and responsible people who end up picking up the pieces and cleaning up the messes after hedonistic, irresponsible and unethical people.
I wish I could just stay down and relax but I can’t. I still have taxiing to do, bills to pay, income to try to increase in order to reduce debt, meals to prepare and serve, a home to maintain, and children to tend to. Staying down when you are sick is sometimes a luxury the single parent cannot afford. I simply don’t have the luxury right now.
I’m not complaining. I’m just stating the hard, cold, stark truth. I’m sick and I can’t really rest enough to kick it. I have far too many plates spinning in the air and if I stop to take a nap several of them will come crashing down.
At times like these, I wonder…
What do other single parents do? How do they cope?