My avid followers (all 2 of you) may have noticed that the intervals between my blog posts have somewhat increased recently. In the initial shock of the alien landing I was blogging nearly every other day – I had a lot of questions, emotions, overwhelming sensations and new experiences that I had to work through in the only way I could see possible, but now I’m learning to carry on/ carry it with me.
I cannot believe how far the Harpers have traveled in 9 weeks. I have had to count that several times before typing it as I feel like this new normal has been with us for a very long time, but within the same thought I cannot process how much has happened in such a short time; confirmation of the alien, a fractured hip, a short stay in York hospital, several trips to Newcastle, knicker shopping, operation to remove primary alien, a new hip, a fetching leg brace, taking first steps, 2 lots of chemo and the Harper house up for sale – all in 9 weeks. I said it at the start, but my mam is one strong woman!
On the mothership’s return to Beckstone Close, some dust settled and the universe momentarily stopped rearranging itself – she was home. I have bizarrely slipped back into the everyday, not the same everyday, but a version of it. I have not forgot about the alien by any stretch of the imagination, but rather than breaking into my life, surprising me and screaming in my face, more recently it is knocking first and waiting for me to acknowledge that it is there.
9 weeks ago I never thought that I would reach this feeling, but here it is. For anyone reading this at week 1 of their alien invasion, trust me your week 9 will come eventually.
However, with this new normal comes another feeling, well less of a feeling and more of an altered perspective – I am so far away from my family. There are 138 miles separating my life in York to the Harpers in Cumbria. Perhaps this is why my week 9 has room to breathe, but I expect it may be different for my mam, dad and sister. I haven’t lived with my family for 10 years, and even before the alien came there were times when I missed them all, times when I wished I could run to them and pop in for a cup of tea. Now there are times I wish I could be the one helping my mam up the stairs, getting her things, taking her places, sorting things out, but instead I’ve put on two shows, started a third, applied for a masters degree and joined a gym. Perhaps this is simply a distraction technique and I am not coping as well as I thought, but each time I apologise to my mam for my absence, she keeps saying “you can’t change everything”.
So maybe that’s what I can work on within my absence – minimizing change. As much as I have daily pangs of guilt that I am not by my mam’s side, that the responsibility is with my dad and sister (who are doing a superb job and I couldn’t be prouder of), what I can work on is making sure that the world beyond the alien still gets to my mam. When I phone home I can talk about everything else in the world, just like we used to; topics now go beyond the alien, there are a lot more giggles, there is less of a panicked tone and fewer stagnant pauses when it is finally mentioned. In fact, last time I Skyped my mam the conversation focused on how to position the camera so that it could stay connected to her charger, but was not zoomed in on her forehead or boobs. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. It was a beautiful moment, that was typical of the Harpers.
When an alien invades everybody plays a pivotal role – whatever that is. Whether you are the frontline fighter, the ammo provider, the medic, kitchen staff, transit or the distant, but loving ally – you are important. This is what I am coming to terms with and hope others in a similar position can do too.
I am going back up to Cumbria this weekend – I cannot wait. I will savor every moment, I will make my mam a cup of tea, I will laugh with my family and make a number of different memories that will bridge the gap the next time I feel far away.