Tag Archives: Emily Dickinson

On the other hand, or it’s being so cheerful what keeps us going


My last post was one of my Pollyanna type ones about the past few years. I don’t like to bleat about my life’s sorrows…I know everyone has a sackful of their own…so I can sound a bit like I’m living the life of Riley*.

I’m not.

I’m trying to give myself relevance as I struggle with MS, depression, and isolation.

It’s keep busy or give up, really.

And, of course, thank heavens for better living through pharmaceuticals.

There’s been a fair chunk of grief. Losses. Of relationships, of work, of the ability to move without knocking things over. There’s a reason why everything I wear is machine-washable.

Hugely, I’ve lost my firstborn- he’s still alive, just not speaking to me. It is wrenching. Years of therapy haven’t made that hurt go away. I doubt it ever will.

Thank God I still have my brilliant and funny other sons and their delightful partners. They brighten my heart.

MS isn’t a pleasant thing to live with – the fatigue can be overwhelming and even given my relatively benign course, it’s like aging at speed. I live alone by choice, unwilling to inflict my challenged self on others. When I’m tired, I say things I don’t mean to say. I am moody, depressed, grumpy as hell. I walk funny. I sleep funny. I can’t speak properly. I develop terrible things like trigeminal neuralgia.

Sometimes a mere conversation can require I rest for the next day or more. I can fake normalcy as long as I can slip back to my den and rest up between outings…but I need that respite.

As someone who was raised to define people by what they do, all this resting is demoralizing.

I’m not complaining, truly. Life has been gentle with me overall. But it hasn’t been easy, and I do my fellow MS folks a disservice if I pretend otherwise.

It’s Thanksgiving, so in a brief return to Pollyannishness, I’ll add I am intensely thankful for the adventures I’ve been able to have, the ones still ahead (I will learn ukulele or perish), and the wonderful friends I’ve met on my travels. I’ve been incredibly fortunate.

The sun is shining, and as Emily Dickinson wrote:

I dwell in possibilities…

* I went and looked up “The life of Riley” on Wikipedia to see if My mum used the phrase to describe a life of no care, just fun. Turns out it wasn’t about that, more about a goon who stumbles through life as those around him prevent him from his worst errors. So I guess I am living the life of Riley. Grateful for those who guard me from myself…