Since stepping back from being ‘the primary carer’, I have felt as if I can breather a little. Or BREATHE as the fabulous Charlotte Bevan would have said (thanks to both Miranda and Fiona for the reminder). Other things are happening in our life apart from anorexia. C has a birthday. We celebrate it quietly, but indulgently. I cook venison with red wine and chocolate sauce and cherry frangipani tart and his son comes over and we talk and laugh, arguing about the ills or benefits of social media. C’s son is like a mini-him and their closeness and shared silliness is delightful.
K continues to make each day a pleasure to be her mum. She is finding ways to challenge herself every day by asking me about whether I would drink out of a certain cup, or making tea without first washing the cups again. She talks a little more about her anxieties and after having been offered the chance of cutting at least one or two AS Levels, she is continuing with them all, showing a quiet resilience of which I am so proud.
J wins third prize in a Young Musicians competition (his father declares sniffly that the winner was a flashy violinist who knew how to impress and the judges clearly had no idea how to evaluate J’s contemporary experimental music). On Tuesday J texts me to say he is an idiot and has lost his wallet. He is full of self loathing and I text him advice about how to cancel cards and offer suggestions about how he might reclaim his four year rail card. Or cancel the cheque he won for the competition. By text he tells me he despairs because he fears his mind is broken. I tell him as gently as possible that his mind is capable of extraordinary things, both in the music he writes, plays and enjoys, but also in how strongly he loves those close to him or how passionate he is about his opinions. Never, ever judge your mind by one lost wallet. In any event by Wednesday it is found again and he tells me “Everything is back to normal”. I smile to myself – for us, what actually is normal?
Today I am in Newcastle, for a party for a long standing friend who is retiring. I wonder whether I should go, but remember the doctors advice to do things that are kind to myself and not about anorexia. So, I am here, in the cafe of the Baltic Gallery, drinking a coffee, after seeing a wonderful modern art exhibition and about to have lunch with a friend. I think @anothermum would be proud….
And L is fine. Somehow in the space caused by the rift between the unit and me, she has found the strength to step up. She has a much better eating plan, the unit have listened to my worries and she is getting on with getting better. My inner voice of failure and doom has quietened. It feels like a storm has passed and while the sun is far from coming out, it is calm. Time to breathe. Or BREATHE, even. You see, Charlotte, you are still here with us, in our breathing and our hearts.