Sabbatical Blog 5
(Photo taken by Kay)
I feel as though I've lived a life time in the last couple of months.
As I said in my last post, Mum passed away towards the end of October. Despite her not being well, it was unexpected. I'm not even going to try and explain the feelings we've gone through, but life has had to carry on.
Steve's brother, Andrew, married at the beginning of November - a lovely occasion, and it's a joy to welcome Diana to the family.
The following Monday was mum's funeral. A simple affair as per her wishes. She had requested her date of birth not be put on the order of service - I had told the printers this, but didn't notice that they'd forgotten when I checked the final draft. I'm sure she'll forgive me.....maybe even laugh when we meet again in Heaven.
We have been struck by the care of those around us - so many cards, and so many flowers we ended up having to use a waste paper basket as a vase! We are so grateful for the love and prayers of so many.
There's been much to sort out, but my brother (Dave) and his wife (Ali), Steve and myself have made a great team in making sure everything is sorted well.
Knowing how much mum liked to give things away, it's been lovely to see many benefit from the possessions she held so lightly - especially furniture and kitchen stuff going to Open Hands (One of my four favourite charities). It's helpful to see good coming out of this time. There's still much to do - but I'm loving spending more time with Dave and Ali.
Whilst all this was going on - in fact since early May - I've been waiting to hear if my reassessment for PIP (personal independence payments) had gone through. Thirty weeks later, I finally heard this morning that I have been awarded the full amount (meaning we can keep the car) and I won't be reassessed for ten years instead of the four years I had this time (actually it was three years - they called me back early). I still can't quite believe it's over! I'm glad fairness reigned, but sad it took so long.
I've found the PIP process quite stressful, especially when mixed with mum's passing. I don't usually get stressed - riled sometimes, but I normally rise above stuff in the end. This assessment felt different and it was tough.
In the middle of all of this someone deliberately side swiped our car damaging the front passenger side. The car was in for repairs for two weeks - we had a courtesy car, but not one that was totally suitable for our needs and difficult for Steve lifting a heavy wheelchair in and out every day.
I've shied away from people a lot during this time - I'm a natural introvert, so I find interacting with people when dealing with loads of stuff is really hard! I hope I've not offended anyone - but I'm confident in the knowledge that all those who love and support us will understand :o)
I'm hoping now the normal Kay will re-emerge and be better for the experiences of the last months. But I'm sensible and realise It may take a while and a few twists and turns.
We have no work bookings in January (other than the Children Worldwide team weekend, but we don't tend to view that as work!). So, we are looking to keep it that way so we can have a bit more sabbatical time. I will need to honour some writing stuff, and do some prep for the Hand in Hand conference at the beginning of February, but that is all..... thankfully I enjoy writing!
I've not been able to do all those things I've wanted to during the sabbatical - especially praying about my future ministry. I'm grateful I managed to take mum out for a proper posh afternoon tea the week before she died - a wish that was on the list!
Some things have been a huge help during this season. Malcolm Duncan's 'Nite Blessings' on Facebook (Now in a book!) and Ann Voskamp's book "The Broken Way" - the devotional version (Mercifully available on Audible) I can highly recommend both.
Tonight's #niteblessing on hope was: "Surrounded by uncertainty may Hope hold open the door of trust. May the Light of Christ lead you on, illuminating your steps and preventing you from stumbling. It is enough to take one step at a time, celebrating each small victory and trusting for the next."