Tender Embraces With Deepening Care

At the age of 55 I had been made redundant and found temporary work through an agency which specialised in accounts and office work. I was amazed to find myself working in a large company in a finance department in a large modern office. Up until this time I never saw myself as a career woman and was always willing to turn my hand to anything that would pay the weekly bills.

The work was simple and repetitive and this really suited me and where I was in life. The company generally employed graduates and high flyers and yet I was content with the simplicity of the role that I was offered within this company.

As my time with the company grew I felt pressure to join the rat race that seems to be so often part of a large corporate company. This situation was compounded by the fact that my manager openly claimed to do as little work as possible. I struggled along until I felt that my work-load and the way I approached it were impacting on my physical and mental health. By this time I had become a permanent member of staff.

On reflection I can see that I was running away from what I found to be an extremely uncomfortable place – I was overwhelmed with life and felt like I was trapped in an untenable place and was not sure which way to run.

This is a pattern that had been repeated throughout my life until the age of 58 and the only option I was willing to look at was to call in sick. There were, of course, other alternative choices but I chose to run away. However, whichever choice we make in life there is a learning – and I was about to learn to face up to life and even at my mature age learn some huge lessons.

The life that preceded this time had also been a time of adjustment as I learnt to live on my own after my marriage ended and both of my children left home. During this period my mother walked beside me and supported me to rebuild a life that was independent and where the care she offered was deeply loving. It was simple and yet profound. I would visit her and deliver her shopping and she would cook lunch and afterwards insist that I went for a rest.

My body was recovering from many years of neglect and these afternoon rests were healing and restoring – very simple and yet very effective.

It’s amazing how life unfolds and yet, not so amazing as I have realised over the years. There is a much vaster plan that over arches everything that so often our mind chooses to ignore.

As I faced the presenting fact of being unemployed it was certainly no coincidence that my mother (in her early 90’s) was beginning to require support with her day to day living. She, like me was unwilling to admit defeat and yet when we met and our day to day dilemmas unfolded a plan presented itself whereby if I stopped work and was willing to take a reduction in pay I could become her paid carer.

In some ways it felt like I was opting out of life and yet in others it was a deeply enriching period for both of us. We got to know one another at a much deeper level – and this in itself was a big healing.

All my life I had lived in fear of my mother – she was a very angry woman and as a child I felt I always was treading on eggshells. Her anger hid the deep hurt and unhappiness of a woman whose life had been unfulfilled.

I was at a point in my own life where there was a huge amount of taking stock and reviewing my past choices, along with taking responsibility for those choices and gaining an understanding of life.

To be able to exchange tender embraces was the sweetest of moments and for the time I was given to heal this relationship I feel deep appreciation.

The more I was able to let out the real person inside of me the closer we became, and the more harmonious our time together felt. Instead of living in fear of this woman I now approached her with all the tenderness that I was not only feeling in her but also in myself.

Until we experience deep caring for ourselves we are unable to care for anyone else and this is something I am still constantly learning.

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