Wednesday 26 August 2020

Waiting for Fran: A Few Thoughts on Expectation and Boundaries

Originally written December 2012.

Last night I was waiting for Fran to get home and come online for our call. She messaged to say she was home and was just going to send her friend a birthday message. I was happy to hear that and figured she wouldn’t be long. Then she messaged to say she was going to check my Facebook wall.

I started getting impatient. Couldn’t she come on webcam with me while she did that? I put some gentle music on and did some meditative breathing while I waited.

Fran finally called at 11:30. She was thirty minutes “late”. The first thing she said was that she had found the “Two minutes of calm” video I’d posted on Facebook and had meditated to that. I was cross, because I’d thought we could have done that together (which we did, later, once I’d regained my composure).

Part of me recognised that, of course, Fran is free to do whatever she wants. She’d been out all day and must have wanted a little space to herself before meeting with me. But another part of me was sorely aggrieved. Surely she knew I was waiting and was eager to see her. It was a classic pouty moment!

It didn’t last very long. Fran was great with me. She allowed me to acknowledge what I was feeling until I was ready to let go of it. THAT is why we work so well together. We understand how these things work.

The day before, she was uptight about not having heard back from her friend about accommodation for their Barcelona trip. On that occasion I gave her space to express what she was feeling, to let it out so she was ready later to sort things out with her friend. It’s what we do.

Thinking about all that leads to something really important: the changes the well one goes through as the ill one moves towards wellness. The shifts in role. The sense of being abandoned or left behind; that all this care has been given and what is the caregiver going to get back in return? I remember Fran telling me of cases where the person with illness (cancer, I think) had really strong/bad reactions from their carers or partners as they moved towards wellness and the balance shifted.

It fits with what happened last night. I was frustrated because Fran didn’t seem as keen to be online with me as I was. In fact, she was taking care of herself and paying attention to what she needed, in a very healthy way.

I’m proud of her for doing that. I’m proud of us both.


Photo by Nordwood Themes on Unsplash.

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