A pause for thought

A butter-yellow leafed tree with matching garage door
I love how the tree matches the garage door at this time of the year. The house is just round the corner from us.

Sometimes life conspires to take you down a different path to the one expected. It was just such a diversion which led to the start of Veg Plotting nine years ago today, when I realised being a distance carer was more important than my job.

I started this blog on the day I wrote my resignation letter and what a sensible move that's been. It's meant I have at least one happy place in my life and it's allowed me to tell the stories which my head demands be told each time I go to the allotment. It turns out this new path has its own unexpected twists and turns, with plenty of new friends and surprises I've welcomed along the way.

To keep Veg Plotting happy means I choose not to talk much about the most personal aspects of my life. Until today that is.

The path turned again recently as I had to make a tough decision about my mum's continuing care. She suffered a stroke in August, and it's clear she'll not recover well enough to return to her home in Birmingham. She needs nursing care from now on, and so I've started on a long list of tasks to find and fund the safe and caring place she needs.

It means I need to let go of Veg Plotting for a while. I've struggled to blog over the past few months and it's clear I can't continue to research and write my posts to the standard I demand of myself.  I also need to spend more time actually in the garden rather than writing about it to help my whirling thoughts sort themselves out. Rest assured I'll continue to read your blogs when I can, and I hope to stop by and leave you a comment or two to say hello.

Veg Plotting will be back as soon as possible - it's going to be interesting to see how long I can keep quiet! In the meantime, I wish you all well until then.

Update: A timely tweet tells me today is also National Stress Awareness Day. I'll be keeping these top tips in mind over the coming weeks in addition to spending more time in the garden. I just wish there was something in there about coping with sleepness nights...


Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about your mum's illness and the consequent challenges for you all. I know it won't be easy to find the perfect solution, but very much hope you find something soon. We'll miss you while you are away.

    There's been a fair bit about sleeplessness on Radio 4 this week, most recently this morning as part of Midweek, a very patchy programme in my view but good today. Sleep coach Nick Littlehales was on speaking about his work. (I like a wee nap personally!)

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    1. Thanks Colleen, much appreciated :) We have Nick Littlehayes' book after seeing him on Breakfast News last week. NAH is reading it at the moment - he's had wee naps pretty much every day since I've known him. When he worked it involved going to his car to do so at lunch times!

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  2. Thinking of you. Take care. Flighty xx

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  3. I am sorry that you are going through a difficult period at the moment. I wish you well and look forward to a time when you are back blgging.

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  4. May your garden help you thru the rough patches till you find a good new home for your mother.

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    1. The garden is helping tremendously Diana, even dealing with the leaves is soothing!

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  5. The garden and allotment are great places to unwind, destress and think things out. I hope it helps you and I hope you get all the help and support for your mum that you need.

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    1. There's a lot been said lately about the benefits of gardens and gardening. It's interesting to see what's available (or not) at care homes!

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  6. My mother had to have skilled nursing care near the end of her life. I know difficult decisions must be made. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  7. I have been down this route all too recently and feel for you. It is never easy. Take care and I hope you will be back soon!

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    1. I'm lucky it's taken so long to get to this point, but yes, it's still tough. I hope all is well for you too, Jessica.

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  8. Hello again, VP, I’m disappointed I didn’t get my comment in yesterday on the anniversary of when both your long journeys with your Mum and blog all began. In terms of your blog, you are in my top picks for high quality regular blogging and I get that you have set standards for yourself – it shows. I also get that it is time for you to get back to real gardening rather than writing about it, after having a couple of months of doing exactly that. We have both blogged a long time, for now, enjoy your quiet blog time pottering in your garden and following through on all these ideas you have had but never got round to, it will restore you and help you through difficult times. In terms of your Mum and her future, I’ve absolutely have no doubt that the care and attention you have given her to date will be your utmost best for her – leaving your job to do this speaks volumes. You are definitely approaching a quite different chapter in both hers and your lives and I am certain you will make the right decisions for your Mum. Yes, difficult decisions lie ahead but please believe in yourself that you will make the right ones. Please look after yourself too and we will see you again some fine blogging day – I believe you will return to Veg Plotting and we will enjoy welcoming you back :-) Sending love and best wishes, Shirley xo

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    1. I was just thinking that I must have missed your blogaversary, Shirley. Thanks for your kind words :)

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  9. We are going through similar experiences at the same time VP so I can imagine how difficult it is for you at the moment both emotionally and physically. I've not been able to spend much time in either the garden or at the allotment of late but when I have it has really refreshed my spirits. Will be keeping you in my thoughts and wishing you every success finding somewhere for your Mum where she will be safe and happy. We will no doubt see you again when the time is right. Take care - Anna ((())) xxx

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    1. I think we've been going down parallel paths for quite a while now Anna. I hope things are going as well as they can for you and your family xxx

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  10. It was reading your blog that helped me start blogging and we have now been blogging colleagues (and real friends) for, erm, eight years? I think you are entitled to have a little breather, especially in these circumstances. But we will all be looking forward to seeing you back in action again. Hugs, Victoria

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    1. It was such a tonic to see you on the way home from Birmingham on Thursday Victoria. I had no idea I'd inspired you, when your writing has inspired me! When I spoke about surprises and friends, you were very much in my my mind when I wrote that :)

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  11. I'm so sorry to hear your news. Your cheerful blog has helped me cope through a difficult summer. I passed my i pad round the ward when I was in hospital. Everyone enjoyed your photos and writing. It made such a difference. I shall be thinking of you - and your Mum. Come back to us soon. Much love- Karen x

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    1. What a lovely thing to say Karen, thank you. To think I've helped to cheer up you and your fellow patients whilst in hospital is quite humbling. I hope you're well on the road to recovery now x

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  12. I am so sorry for the difficult circumstances you and your family face. I hope you find much relief in your garden and allotment and find just the right solutions for your mum. I will miss you while you're gone.

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    1. Thanks Joanna - it's helping tremendously.

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  13. My blog hero! But even heroes need a break - just as I was thinking of starting again! Very best as always.

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    1. Mark you are another of the friends and surprises I had in mind when I wrote this :) You will still see me popping up on The Angle from time to time!

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  14. Sorry to read this, it must be a very difficult time - thinking of you xx

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    1. Thanks Alison, that's much appreciated. I've just been writing out a scarily long To Do list and rushed then back here to my safe place!

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  15. That's hard - sorry to hear about your mum. Hope having more time will make life a bit easier and give you chance to get outside in the garden more. Very best wishes for the next few months.

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    1. Thanks Nicola - next few months is about right.

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  16. Sorry to hear about your mum. I know these things can be very hard and it makes sense to focus on that for now, and have gardening, not blogging, as your stress relief and happy place. I hope you manage to work things out without too much stress. Take care, and see you back on the blog when it happens. xx

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    1. Thanks Gwenfar, I hope there'll be enough gardening to do over the winter ;)

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  17. Very saddened to hear about your mum. The best of luck finding the right care for her. Let me say how much I've always admired your dedication and skill, both to gardening and your blog. With you on her side, you're mother is sure to find a happy place in her time of need. We're cheering you.

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    1. Thanks Helen, I can hear you cheering! Well done on another successful completion of NaBloPoMo :)

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  18. Michelle, you know I feel for you as you help your mom make this transition. May the stress soon be a thing of the past and may everyone settle into the new reality.

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    1. Thanks Cindy, fingers crossed mum's move happens later this week.

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  19. So sorry to hear about your mother. Hoping you find the very best place for her and soon. Please take very good care of yourself, too. It's so easy to forget ourselves when providing care for others. xo

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    1. Thanks Gail, I'm factoring in a much needed treat for myself each week :)

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  20. Michelle - Many of us have been daughters in these circumstances, and it requires both hands on the wheel. Enjoy your garden as consolation - writing is for later.

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    1. Thanks Janet, I'm finding 'both hands on the wheel' is very much needed.

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  21. A difficult time. Will be thinking of you all.

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  22. Oh poor you, I really feel for you having to make such tough choices in life. I really hope you come back to blogging soon and more importantly that your mum finds a safe, happy place to be (and indeed so do you). All the best Michelle and hope to see you soon xx

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    1. Thanks Sally - I'm looking at blogging again sometime in the New Year.

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  23. You made a right choice and chose what's the most important, Michelle. Take care of yourself.
    I hope your Mom and you will have all help possible.

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    1. Thanks Tatyana - finding out about that help is one of my fact finding tasks for today!

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  24. And, having just discovered this beautiful blog very recently, I'm saddened to be missing out on great content. Nothing for it, in the meantime, but to spend some time browsing through past posts. The balance of life's priorities shifts like sand. I wish you well, and trust that the pause will bring further balance to you.

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    1. Thanks Padraig, it's lovely to see your cheery Avatar winking at me from the sidebar :)

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  25. Sorry I'm so late commenting, VP, but like everyone else I'm sure you've made the right choice, and hope you are soon able to find somewhere suitable to provide care for your Mum. I'm going through similar things at the moment too, as my Dad has dementia and I don't know how much longer my Mum's going to be able to care for him at home (they're both 88 and her physical health isn't very good).

    R is a chronic insomniac so I know how much it matters if you can't get enough sleep. I used to take herbal sleeping pills (Potters "nodoff", the active ingredient of which is passiflora) - they were great for me, but they don't suit everyone and didn't really work for R. Hop or lavendar pillows are also supposed to help you get to sleep, or just taking a paracetamol last thing at night. I hope you find something which works for you, it really makes a difference to how well you can cope if you can sleep through the night.

    Thinking of you.

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    1. Lovely to see you Juliet at any time :)

      Mum's move is imminent, so fingers crossed it all goes relatively smoothly. My MIL had dementia and was one of our strands of distance care until last summer. It's very hard on everyone isn't it?

      I go for the paracetamol solution from time to time, just so I get at least one decent sleep a week.

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  26. Oh Michelle..... just read this piece. Really hope you and your mum are okay. Sending you love and hugs. Sx

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    1. Thanks Sophie, mum is due to move down to Wiltshire on Monday, so fingers crossed she settles in to her new abode.

      Good to meet you at the GMG Awards - apologies for not being very talkative, the day was meant to be a treat away from all of this, but I found it a bit of a struggle. I won't be so tongue tied when we next meet!

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