What a difference a break makes
What a difference a few days make. We left home, left the city, left my brother on his own and drove two hundred miles to sit in a field for a few days at a festival.
The organisation involved in leaving Nick was like a military campaign – extra care brought in, friends persuaded to pop round and visit, everyone fully alerted as to whom to ring in case of emergency, post-it note reminders left for Nick about who was coming when…
…and he was fine. We kept in touch by text from my field in England and he was fine. Admittedly we were lucky, another day he might have fallen over or (as happened on the morning we were due to leave, and in the end we still got away) pulled the loo pedestal off the wall and caused a flood. But it all worked out in the end and I came home relaxed and almost a new person, able to separate myself from my brother’s needs in a way I haven’t been doing for quite some time. I went straight round to see him and he had drunk all the wine we’d bought for the week in the space of four days. I didn’t say anything. Just gave him a hug and his present from the festival and told him what bands I’d seen and asked about his day. It felt as if all my upset and judgement and fear had just worn out and there was no point in trying to change it any more, just use that energy instead to fight some different battles for him.
So now we’re home, it’s raining, there are still muddy boots and camping paraphernalia in most corners and the house reeks of wet washing. The cat is over the moon to see us returned and at my side like a fierce guardian in case we ever try to leave him again.
I look around at my little world and it feels as if I’m seeing everything with new eyes, as if everything has come back into colour vision no matter how tired I am physically after camping and a long drive and then going straight back to work the next day. It’s like a scene from one of those movies where a bang on the head can magically change someone’s mood and behaviour. It took some physical distance and a break from the ongoing everyday relentlessness of the situation to be able to deal with it the way I need to - gracefully, with humour and kindness and not as the screaming madwoman on the verge of a nervous breakdown that I’ve been lately.
It pains me that Nick himself never has the choice of getting away, wherever he goes his disobedient body will come with him. But at least if I look after myself and make sure that my batteries are recharged regularly, I can be a better support for him.
I make a resolve to do it again soon.
And Nick is fine. For the moment.