One of my earliest childhood memories is being on the passenger ship “Aurelia”.
I was 3 years of age and embarking on a journey that would change the entire course of my life. I was migrating from the United Kingdom (London) to Fremantle, Western Australia with my parents and my older brother.
Fuzzy and Special Memories
My memories, of that long 6 week journey at sea, are a little fuzzy given I was so young but some stand out.
I remember the only food available was Italian cuisine. Not something an English 3 year old could adjust easily to, especially when dealing with sea sickness. I was given the only alternative for 6 weeks…canned baby food!
Another clear memory is of our little cabin. It contained 4 bunk beds, a basin and a small porthole. I also remember the intensity of sea sickness as our cabin was below deck and the journey was incredibly rough.
Fresh air on the top deck was a relief and it’s there that my clearest, most special memory lies.
I remember, while seeking comfort and relief from sickness in the fresh air, being on a small carousel or roundabout ride. My Dad was standing at the side. I can see in my mind’s eye his big smile and protective stance. I felt loved, safe and secure in his care. That first clear memory of my Dad epitomizes the wonderful relationship we have shared over the years.
Every time I see a carousel I am transported back to that memory. It’s a positive symbol of love and a happy moment.
Which Horse Will We Be Riding Today?
I was chatting to my husband today about my health. With tears streaming down my face due to exhaustion from pain, I told him I don’t think I can go on like this. It’s just too hard physically.
Everyday my symptoms are escalating. Everyday another bone breaks or re-breaks. I am literally consumed by pain. Short of filling me with so much medication that I would be in a comatose state or violently ill, there is no solution. No miracle drug, no easy answer.
I feel like my body is trying to kill me without knowing how to do it. It just tortures me.
I found myself trying to explain the unexplainable to my husband but what came out of my mouth stopped me in my tracks;
” I feel my health is like a carousel and each horse represents a different disease. Each day my body selects which horse to ride and takes me on a journey of a selection of symptoms. It’s a perpetual ride that goes around and around. It never stops”
It was the use of the word “carousel” that really hit me.
My beautiful childhood memory had suddenly moved into my adulthood in a way that was no longer sweet and innocent but torturous.
The analogy was so apt though. My husband said he wished he’d recorded what I’d said as he would love to play it to my medical team. Not that they don’t believe me, they do and they care deeply but he felt it described so well the agony of complex and multiple diseases.
He felt every inch of my pain. He cried with me.
Another Special Carousel Moment
In a strange way the carousel from my childhood and the connection with my Dad, now has a deep and tender connection with my husband.
As I used the carousel of symptoms as an analogy to explain my chronic disease ride, he could visualize exactly what I meant. He felt it as much as I did.
Somehow that helped. It didn’t relieve my pain but it relieved the emotional pressure of carrying the effects of my pain. It was shared. Truly shared in an intimate moment of complete understanding.
On this perpetual journey, my husband stands by my side with a tender smile and protective stance and despite my pain, I feel loved, safe and secure in his care…..just like I did with my Dad all those years ago on that carousel ride.
The saying “swings and roundabouts” feels very apt.
I will continue to ride on. I will always ride on but when I have those moments where it all feels too much, I’ll have the carousel memories and moments to muse upon.
Those moments that remind me, not of sea sickness or pain and disease, but of love.
Love is patient, love is kind…..It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.1 Corinthians 13 v 4, 7 & 8 (NIV)
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
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