Open letter to the two people who taught me how to see any dark cloud’s silver lining

Dear Ma & Pa,

I find it incredible to think that 30 years ago you were a few days away from celebrating your 7th wedding anniversary and a few months away from becoming parents for the 3rd time. It was also the year you both turned 30 so you were both younger than I am today – crazy!

I could thank you for many things in this letter, but if I were to thank you for everything you do and are for us, this letter would never end. 

But instead I want to thank you for just one thing. But perhaps the most important thing. For teaching us how to see any dark cloud’s silver lining. The thing which helped me most in the past year and a half as I suffered from – and eventually recovered from – extreme food sensitivities, multiple chemical sensitivity and chronic fatigue syndrome.

If I were to tell someone that you had 3 children in less than 4 years while you built up your business, I’m sure they would imagine that we rarely got to spend time all together. And that when we did you were both tired and grumpy.

Ma, I’m sure they wouldn’t imagine us spending glorious days swimming at Ghar Lapsi. Or screeching that “we (were) going to fall into the seeeea” in a car packed to the brim with all the stuff that you lovingly packed and carted to Ghar Lapsi for us for the summer. Or Pa that you would rush home to join us for an evening swim, a game of giants or to tell us some amazing adventure story.

Yes there were the occasional threats of us spending all night in the corner or of our heads being banged against each other. But I think I was the only one silly enough to believe any of that might have been true!

So Christa, Luke and I recently realised that all three of us automatically tend to avoid being negative, even when things are quite difficult. And I really think that’s because all our lives you’ve both been such amazing examples of how to remain positive and find something to laugh about no matter what might be happening around us.

You never showed us when times were hard for you. I can hardly imagine how many incredibly tough days you both must have had over the years. But you never showed us that. As people often point out, laughter is always the order of the day when you’re around. And I know now more than ever that laughter is definitely the best medicine as it complements neural retraining brilliantly!

And when things didn’t go quite the way we wished them to, you never let us fret over them. I remember being a bit (or very) annoyed that instead of hugging me and feeling sorry for me, you told me to get over the things I cried over. Things which seem silly now but seemed like a huge deal then. Things like broken toys (I was always the toy breaker!), school bags forgotten on the van and medals missed out on at Sports Day. But now I’ll always be grateful that you taught us how to just move on from these things and not wallow in self-pity.

When people tell me how positive I’ve been through my experience with this mysterious, chronic illness, I wish to explain all this to them. How you taught us how to see any dark cloud’s silver lining. How you’ve lived all your lives always looking for the silver lining (and even taking amazing photos of silver linings #WM :) ).

And apart from all that, how you both made a difficult experience so much easier for me. Ma, you might try to say that all mothers would have done what you did. But I beg to differ. You dropped everything to do my shopping and to come here to do the housework I couldn’t do. You walked with me every single day. Or even just sat by the sea with me on the days I didn’t have the energy to walk. No matter how moody I was, you just sat in the mess with me until finally we would both find something to laugh about. You didn’t even mind when I snapped at you for being too kind. When I was annoyed to see you doing the things I should have been doing but didn’t have the energy to. 

You made it much easier for me to remain positive because you did so much for me. With your constant support, things didn’t feel as overwhelming as they would have otherwise. And your help made it possible for me to relax and enjoy myself when I was a bit better.

And Pa, you joined Mama for our walks whenever you could. Or made it a point to reschedule appointments in order to come alone on the rare occasions when Mama was unwell and couldn’t come herself. I could see that you were worried when you saw me at my worst. But no matter what, you always managed to find a way to make me laugh. 

Thank you both for all this. And for never getting annoyed when I was snappy and moody or questioning me when things were hard to understand. For doing anything you could to ensure I got the best medical advice possible. And for hoping for me even when it was hard for me to keep hoping.

So thank you for everything. Happy Anniversary. I love you both loads xxxx