The light of recognition

I recently asked all the staff and trustees to consider writing a guest blog article for me.

The following blog from our Chair of trustees, Zanne, had a profound effect on me. And clearly on her too.

You see, that lighbulb moment of recognising yourself as a carer is profound. For some, it is the moment when the past makes sense and your struggles have a name. For others, it is an overwhemling realisation of what you are doing, what you are facing and the changes this will bring.

Either way, it takes courage to step out of the shadows and into that light.

 

 

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I have been Chair of Carer’s Lewisham for ten years and on the Management Committee for nineteen.

I have been involved professionally with carers issues for probably thirty years. 

However, this poem arose out of the briefest conversation with another Committee member on the way to a meeting. 

I could offer many explanations as to why I have never identified myself before as a young carer and even now I feel that it is something of an overstatement. 

But I think the main one is that there was so little ‘care’ within my family that it was not a term I would have associated with myself, or with my parents.  

So, if at twelve I had been asked if I was a young carer, no doubt my response would have been an empathic ‘no’. Perhaps ‘not caring’ was another badge of honour along with my bare feet and disdain for daft rules. 

Not something that I am particularly proud of now. But perhaps it sheds a new light on why I have remained committed to this work for so long and have such respect for those who are bigger than myself and are able to provide care and love for others in far more difficult circumstances than I ever was. 

Zanne Findlay 

 

The light of recognition

 

I did not see it coming.

But there it was,

hidden within the pages of a dusty book

the dry pressed bloom

of a childhood cut short.

 

I have heard the word ‘carer’

many times.

I have written it, spoken it

persuaded others they were it,

but me? No. 

 

I was simply a child

alone with her mother,

who was gripped by her demons,

her disappointments and

her faltering grip on life.

 

So I wandered,

rebelled, failed at school,

and so much more.

But cared? No

I did not know how.

 

I could not see then

that I had any value,

to you, my absent father,

or to the world beyond

our single room.

 

I fled when I was young

to face my own fears

and escape yours.

Was that selfish? Certainly.

Was it survival? Definitely.

 

And now, as I place that desiccated bloom

Into light of recognition,

I see that I did care. I cared deeply

and I gave up my childhood

without a second thought.

 

So dear, frail, departed mother,

hindsight equips me to be kinder to us both,

for we did the best we could

in a rather unforgiving

and ignorant world.

 

Who should I thank

that it is better for young carers now?

God, Buddha, Carers Lewisham?

I’m not taking any chances

I am thanking all three. 

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