Hajja Salesjana July-September 2022

Marlene Cauchi D.CounsPsy Most families will, at some point, have close encounters with serious illness, and it usually falls on the family itself to care for their loved one. The severity may build up in a gradual fashion, or it may hit the family with full force when you least expect it. Then, your life changes drastically. There is no time to adjust and grieve – you just need to get on with it. Hospital stays become routine, as you become intimately acquainted with visiting hours, hospital corridors, staff members you feel safe with, and others who you would hope to avoid. You have to learn to speak with doctors about conditions you know nothing about, and ask the right questions. You experience anguish for the fate of a loved one during surgery. You feel cautiously relieved when it goes well, and devastated when it does not. Meanwhile, your life has to carry on: your work, the expectations associated with it, the people depending on you for a particular service… Not all situations lend themselves to an explanation as to why you are suddenly so scattered. You try to juggle work commitments between hospital visits and actual care for the loved one’s deteriorating condition. In some cases, you know that the situation will never actually get better. The prospect of the light at the end of the tunnel is accompanied by the sharp realisation that it could only result in the void left by the loved one. Deadlines haunt you as it becomes increasingly harder to keep up with them. Simple demands become a burden as you grapple with the huge physical and emotional toll of the situation at home. What is the toll one experiences in such cases? Apart from the shock and (possibly) immediate adjustment to a different lifestyle, you start realising that the person who was once your reference point is no more. You know you have to grieve, but there is no time to do so. You are left with a perpetual lump in your throat as you face stage after stage of deterioration. You might realise that other people in the family When Trouble Hits Photo by Arifur Rahman - www.unsplash.com 23 Lulju - Settembru 2022 hajja