Last week was definitely one for the books.  On the weekend, I went up and visited by Poppa, as one of my sisters was down from the North Island to visit him.  He has severe pain, and it was being heavily medicated.  All the whanau got together and had a family meeting.  I didn’t realise just how bad he was until I visited with Mum.  She was pleased to see us, and we left thinking Poppa was in good hands.

Since my ex left, I have had moments of intense loneliness, like a hollow core inside of me, and not much was filling it up.  I could be with other people, but that empty core would still be there.

Mum and I message every morning, and often several times throughout the day.  We check in with each other, how did you sleep, you okay, what’s your plans for the day – that sort of thing.  But with Poppa being ill, she didn’t have the time to message me, and I really didn’t follow up with her.

By the end of last week, Poppa had been put into hospital because the pain was so bad.  Because I had been focusing more on myself, I suddenly had a rush of something I have never felt before.  Guilt.

When you have lived with “numbed” emotions for so long, you forget what things look like, feel like.  My psychologist had to teach me what happiness looked like, felt like, sadness, anger.  But guilt wasn’t one of them.  But she would be very proud of me.

It took me a bit to recognise it, but when I did, I acknowledged it, cried a little over it, and put it aside to deal with it later.  Not easy to do, but I did it.

I spent time with my Mum last Thursday night, explaining why I was feeling guilty.  And for the first time, it was something I felt, not imposed upon me.  Mum told me not to feel guilty, but it didn’t stop it.  But talking to Mum about it, acknowledging it, and journalling it, broke its hold over me.

Since last week, I have made sure to message Mum every morning, even if she isn’t currently online.  Just sending her a message, letting her know that I am thinking about her made me feel better.  And then I started ringing her in the evening to make sure that she was okay and coping.

This week, a sense of calm and peace has come over me.  I feel like I have grown up a little, and while I am not physically there for Mum, at least she knows that I’m thinking of her.

My inside core of loneliness is gone too – and I guess because I am not solely focused on myself that the loneliness and emptiness is gone.

The lesson here is – if you focus on yourself too much, you may just neglect those around that need your help.  And it doesn’t have to be in a major way, just a small gesture, everyday, can help you to feel good about yourself, and help someone else.

The Seesaw of Life
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