Sunday, 7 January 2018

Bombogenesis: Some Things You Just Can’t Plan For!

Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine

Well, Fran and her folks made it to Samoset! Given the appalling weather (“bomb cyclone”) that has hit America’s East Coast in the past few days, Christa and Gary made decent progress from their home in New Jersey to Fran’s place in Portland, Maine. They arrived around 9 p.m. my time (4 p.m. their time), then drove on to Samoset with Fran navigating.

We’d Skyped earlier in the day, while Fran was waiting for them to arrive. I was glad to find her calm and prepared. Most of our focus over the past couple of months has been preparing for this trip, and then Mexico in another couple of weeks. It hasn’t always been easy for Fran, balancing her health and other needs with the seemingly endless items on our To Do lists and travel plans, but we approached it as we always do: one step at a time. I am proud of how she’s kept going. And now it’s not just something up ahead that we are planning for. It’s real. It’s happening.

The weather was one thing we had not bargained on. There had been times when it looked like maybe the trip wouldn’t happen, or would be delayed by a day or two. Fran had checked in with her mom every day, and we had kept a close eye on the weather and travel reports, as well as public webcams along the route they would be taking.

As we’d anticipated, the interstates had mostly been cleared after the heavy snow fall the day before, but conditions worsened once they hit the minor roads. There was one scary moment, when they went into a snow drift. Fran messaged me to get the AAA number for them, which I did (reprising my Angel Duty role from previous trips) but in the end the police got them on their way. My relief and gratitude prompted me to post on social media: “A quiet thank you to all the emergency and support services who are there for us when we need them.”

Fran messaged me a little after 7 p.m. their time (my midnight). Two little words that meant so much: “Made it!”

It’s always odd when Fran is away. I don’t know how much Skype time we will manage this week. They have Wi-Fi where they are staying, but I need to leave that up to Fran and not get grumpy or clingy if it is not as much as I would like. She is away with her mom, and that’s what this trip is mostly about. I will be there for when she needs me, as I told her the other night, when she was feeling a little uncertain how things would go.

“I’m gonna be right at your side through this week, Frannie.”

“I’m glad.”

As well as a trip in itself, Samoset is a prelude to the month Fran will spend soon in Mexico. It’s important for me (for us) to keep that bigger picture in mind. This week in Samoset. One week at home. Four weeks in Mexico. We need to stay vigilant, starting now. As we always do before a trip, we recently reviewed and updated Fran’s Travel Wellness Plan. The key things to keep an eye on remain the same:

  • Fran’s mood (and mine!)
  • Any specific flags for depression or mania
  • Her levels of energy / fatigue / pain
  • Her rest and sleeping patterns
  • Her eating and drinking

(Fran won’t weigh while she’s away but she’s been doing well recently—far better than I have!—and won’t want to have slipped back when she checks in with her scales again next week.)

I need to pay attention to my self-care and wellness too, so as to be there for Fran as effectively as possible and not over burden her with my stuff. These are lessons we learned first-hand a few years ago when Fran spent three months traveling in Europe. Our respective Wellness Plans proved invaluable, and I have reread the relevant chapters from our book in readiness for the weeks ahead.

I needed to attend to my own well-being if I was to support Fran effectively, so I drew up a wellness plan for myself loosely modelled on hers. I wrote down a list of positive activities and behaviours that were likely to help me through the summer, and gave myself permission to experience fully whatever thoughts and feelings came up, without suppressing or holding on to them.

It was important for me to accept certain aspects of our friendship would change, and I wrote a second list of expectations I needed to let go of. These included our usual morning calls, ongoing chats through the day, and voice or video calls every evening. I set myself a series of specific goals to encourage me to make the most of the time I usually spent online with Fran.

High Tide, Low Tide. Chapter 8, “Together and Apart: Handling Challenge, Change, and Codependency”

The “Things I Would Quite Like to Do in 2018” post I am working on at the moment is a good place for me to start. It’s not on that list as such but I also want to blog more—and more spontaneously—this year. Maybe I can use these musings as part of that...

—Oh look, I did!



  1. Great blog post! I love to see what everyone intends to do for the new year!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Courtney. Was there something that especially caught your attention with this one?