Tracey is a mum and caregiver to her 20-year-old son, Harry. We asked Tracey ‘where do you find your sanctuary amongst it all?’. In response, Tracey has shared her reflections on how meditation has helped her as a carer for her son.
My sanctuary, my coping strategy is first and foremost hope for better treatment and ultimately for a cure, but on a daily basis it’s meditation.
I have been on anti-depressants (at prognosis), also spoke with a psychologist at UCLH (who was helpful but no real consistency) but finally upon the recommendation of a friend I tried meditation. For me it has been the best form of support, ultimately helping myself and it is always available whenever I need it, 24/7. It is now part of my daily routine. I am very aware that it is important to keep myself strong & build resilience, so I am always there to support Harry.
There are times when I feel I am bombarded with thoughts during the practice, but I have noticed I still feel calmer during the day. There is no such thing as a bad session.
I have my moments, days of hidden tears and if I said I wasn’t deeply concerned for my son’s future, it wouldn’t be the truth. But it is about accepting those thoughts then letting them go. I have realised that dwelling on the past and worrying about the future just steals our today.
The gratitude part of the practice was hard, I couldn’t see past the despair – how could I possibly be grateful? And dealing with the anger was hard too, but it is work in progress and helping.
I wish my Harry would meditate, but unfortunately when he was struggling at the height of his illness and treatment (dexamethasone & chemo side effects are horrid) he used the calm app to help him cope. Unfortunately, but understandably, he associates meditation with the bad memories of that time. I feel he needs it more than ever, mentally it seems tougher when the treatment ends, the reflection, the PTSD, the fear, it all kicks in and it’s heart-breaking to see.
I just want my boy well, happy, safe and leading his best life. They say you are as unhappy as your unhappiest child, so if he is ok (as ok as he can possibly be) then so am I. I am dubious and concerned about the whole Dubai path he has chosen but from what I can tell so far, he is really happy. Harry is 22 and he decides, it is his life. It is a new chapter, a new goal and purpose. Almost as though he has left the cancer (to a degree) in the UK.
Just in case it could help someone else, I will share how I started my mediation journey. A lady and now friend, Tracy Stringer, runs the meditation sessions. In a terribly desperate situation herself, after her daughter was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, she turned to meditation. It helps her and now she helps others. She runs monthly group sessions locally to me (One in Chigwell and one near Chelmsford Essex) but does online sessions twice a week too, so accessible to all.
Another friend of mine comes along, her son diagnosed with osteosarcoma. We three mums have a mutual understanding and we support each other. Here is her website: https://www.metanoiahealthandmindfulness.com/
If you would like more information on mindfulness, we have a page dedicated to how it can help you live better and how you can start practicing mindfulness in your own life. Click here to visit the page. Call us on 01983 292 405 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to a brainstrust support specialists, we’re here to help you deal with the overwhelm.
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