It was my oldest daughter's 20th birthday last weekend. Birthdays are a time for celebration and celebrate we did. Brunch, cinema, pizza, presents and a mound of cards full of love and encouragement due to the kindness and generosity of friends.
It was also a bittersweet time of reflection. You see, my daughter has M.E. and first started to be unwell when she was 13. Her whole teenage years have been lived under the shadow of an ill defined but devastating illness.
In the midst of that she had shown a strength, resilience and compassion for others that has consistently taken my breath away. To meet my daughter is to be inspired.
As she stood on the threshold of her twenties she had to say goodbye to teenage years that were lived in a different way than she had imagined. There is a grief associated with that and with the fact that those years will not come again.
This new decade offers hope that things will be different and a fear that they may not be. Alongside this fear is a steely determination to do what she can with what she has.
Life is so very complicated for us all. We live daily with grief and hope intertwined and I have made my peace with that. We hope for full health but are determined to thrive with what currently is. It is the most whole, honest and faithful way for us to truly live.
The painting is by my youngest daughter of her sister. Blue and purple are the colours of fibromyalgia and ME and the grey hair shows the sense of invisibility. Look at the eyes though! They’re looking forward and holding onto hope.