A tough day in the office - and a lot to celebrate
I woke feeling grumpy, had a rubbish sleep, probably a bit hormonal. (I was, as it turned out, but there was more to it than that.)
Today is the day I have promised myself I'll finish painting my new office at home. It's a great incentive as I'm so looking forward to having somewhere of my own in the house, a space to work and relax and be creative. There will (eventually!) be beautiful decor and furnishings, nice candles, and colourful art on the walls. The only thing is, I hate DIY. Most things I can take a fair amount of pleasure in, mindfully even, but it's a stretch when I have a paintbrush in my hand and there's a load of 'stuff' to do before I get to the nice finishing touches.
It has taken me over a year, on and off, to clear a very cluttered spare room, remove the 'Winnie the Pooh' light shade and re-do the lemon walls from when our babies slept in there. They're 12 and 16 now.
I have a fairly good excuse - I've been running my business for 18 months and there hasn't been much time - or inclination - to do big jobs like this. And my experience as a coach means I'm very aware of my tendency to avoid things at times, when there's something much more fun happening elsewhere.
Now, where was I... (see what I mean?!)
As I begin painting the skirting boards I'm getting into my stride, brush strokes moving back and forth, enjoying applying the ultra-white freshness over the cream, jaded tone that was there before. As I go on a bit longer I sense some resistance. Something really uncomfortable. But I don't quite know what it is yet.
I notice some frustration and - frankly - moaning...a bit of "why me, why do I have to do this myself? I HATE DIY!" And then an overwhelming sadness as I realise what is underlying this out-of character glumness.
I know my husband Alan would have loved to do every bit of the room for me, from beginning to end, when he was more able. But he's not. His MS is getting worse every few months, and he has suffered and lost so much from this debilitating illness, yet he's still gracious about it. Most aspects of our lives I have no problem doing my bit and taking on extra responsilibity, but for some reason this is just too much today.
When I admit that, and acknowledge that it's ok to be frustrated and sad sometimes, I feel a flood of emotions and tears sting my eyes. I keep painting as the movement is helping me to explore and be present with what's happening, letting thoughts and feelings and emotions flow freely.
And then the radio springs into life with a really soulful tune, one that's familiar...very apt for this moment. It was our wedding song: "Need your love so bad" by Fleetwood Mac.
Suddenly I know what I need to do. I rush downstairs to find Alan. I don't even know where I left my painting stuff: I'm on auto-pilot. I haul the rubber gloves off my hands and chuck them away as I meet him in the hall. He reacts to my tear-stained face with concern, yet willingly and unquestioningly he takes my hand and follows me into the kitchen where the radio is playing.
We don't say anything - we just dance, swaying gently and soothingly in each other's arms until the last bars of the song drift away, and I notice a strong sense of the years that have passed before us, and all the learning and wisdom we have gained from life, and living it to the full. It's twenty years since his diagnosis - the same week we got married, and we have a lot to celebrate. As I take a deep breath and appreciate this, everything seems to gently settle.
I have a big blow into a tissue, dry my eyes and share with him why I've been so grumpy and out-of-sorts today. It feels good to be real about it, even though I swithered whether to tell him. But this is how we live, openly and honestly, and going through the raw, difficult times together. I feel a renewed energy in my jobs for the day, heading back with so much enthusiasm that I even do the radiator as well! And Alan helped with a few last finishing touches, where he was able, and because he wanted to.
Stepping back, as the last brush stroke is complete, I admire our work and suddenly it doesn't seem such a chore. It was worth it.