Arthritis / Autism / General

noun: thunder
  1. a loud rumbling or crashing noise heard after a lightning flash due to the expansion of rapidly heated air.
    “there was a crash of thunder”

You know those moments in life? The ones where you are trundling along nicely, all the pieces of your puzzle feel like they’re slotting into place and then BAM, as if from nowhere there is a massive flash of lightening and everything suddenly, (although often as if in slow motion), is blasted out of place and you suddenly find yourself scrambling on the floor looking for your lost pieces while being very aware than you’re still waiting for the Thunder that follows.

I have always hated change, I like to have a plan, never a hugely ambitious plan and I like to know where that plan is headed, who I’m following out that plan with and then a nice routine to slot into place while I see that plan through. When someone or something from that plan disappears and things need rearranged or locations change or even plans just totally fall apart or change, I don’t always take it very well.

The hardest change for most of us is Grief, loosing someone we love is obviously really difficult. What I struggle with the most is the impact of that.

When we lost Ben’s dad Geoff suddenly 4 and a half years ago, that initial lightning bold of grief was so painful, the shock was almost unbearable and the pain was not only emotional but almost physical. As hard as that moment was, the Thunder moments that followed were where my fears lay. When you loose a family member the whole dynamic of your family changes, in our case we had to work hard to keep all our family puzzle pieces together in the midst of house moves, life changes, job changes and dynamics changing… we survived that lighting and more importantly we survived the long running thunder.

When we got a diagnosis of Autism for Elijah that was a Lightning moment for us, even though we where fully aware of the storm we where in and saw this lightening blast coming it still rocked us. Again there was a grief aspect to this, letting go of a future planned in my own mind a realising that things would be different than I expected but also an acceptance that we had braced ourselves for the lightening but that the thunder was going to run for a long time to come. Every time Elijah comes home from school closed off or in meltdown the thunder hits us again. When he barely spoke for four days in the run up to Christmas, the thunder hits us. When his whole body shakes with fear in an actual storm, the thunder hits us. When he struggles socially, the thunder hits us.

When at 21 I experienced the lightening moment that would have the biggest impact on my life, I was shocked but in that moment of ‘you have rheumatoid arthritis’ I had no idea that the thunder to follow for the next ten years would be so much harder to bare. With this situation, it is almost as if every time you recover from one rumble you are almost immediately hit by another. Once I accepted I had a life long condition and began treatment I then learned it was aggressive, I then learned it was resistant to lots of drugs, then it was still progressing, then I would have to face meds with extra conditions of their own, then I would get secondary conditions, then it would spread to my lungs, then id have to decide ‘quality or quantity’. There are moments in the storm when I’m not sure ill ever be able to stand firm again, its like my world is constantly being shaken and I’ve got to fight to keep standing, and moving forward seems almost impossible, the worst part of this is that no one else hears the thunder, they might get a glimpse of the initial lightning bolt our of the side of their eye or be vaguely aware there’s a storm going on but it doesn’t impact them and its so hard to get my own head around and its scary. I don’t want someone else to be on that wobbly difficult path and so I navigate it alone constantly worried for the next rumble and pulling further and further away from others who aren’t in my storm.

You know the awesome thing with Thunder.. and lightening… and storms… they do pass. Sure more come along, but so far, I’ve always got through, some are constant and some are fast moving but there is always, ALWAYS, beauty in the storm. It often feels as if, with each lighting strike I am knocked over but with every rumble of thunder I am made stronger, as a family we are stronger, as a person Elijah is stronger. Although I am afraid, and drained by this storm, I am strong, and determined and unbeaten, I choose to see the beauty and the blessing and to always wait for the beautiful, overwhelming calm that WILL follow the storm.


Comments are closed.


There are no comments yet.