Tuesday, October 21

takin it SLOW

last week i got news that a friend and colleague in the States had been given 4 months to live. Fuck Fuck Fuck. J had been diagnosed with brain cancer last year and had undergone the nasty therapies, a round of neuro-surgery and returned back to her rather high stress professorial position and continued her role as mummy to two small boys aged 6 and 4 and partner to K. It has spread further in her brain and now her spine. they have made the decision to stop chemo and live life as best as they can until the cancer takes her. Shes too sick to fly back and both her parents are too sick to fly there. Its a terrible situation. The pain of saying goodbye to your children and living with the knowledge that you wont be around for them and to comfort them in their loss is breaking my heart.

What do you do with information and events like these to make someones loss and grief meaningful? After some reflection i decided to give myself a break, stop worrying about finishing my PhD and take the time that i have been lucky enough to have, to enjoy my new boy and our new family without thinking about work. I need to fully embrace living a family life while i have the opportunity. academic life is tough this way. many women do what i do and attempt to use their maternity leave as an opportunity to finish their degrees and or a few peer reviewed papers so as not to 'waste time'. never fully letting go and 'taking leave'. There is an idea that if you show yourself to be interested in mothering then by default, you are not as committed to academic pursuit. The flow on implication is that you will be overlooked for promotion, not taken as seriously etc. What ends up invariably happenning is that you just work extra hard when on leave, try and do 2 jobs on one timeline and end up going back to work, relishing 'the break'.

Additionally, my prof has been having an affair with a colleague, lost his marriage and cant handle the heat and has decided to quit and take up a post overseas (with said colleague) this December and will no longer be around to supervise the completion of my thesis. i dont want to bust a gut finsihing up when work will be in chaos when i get back and no one there to really 'care' if i've finshed up yet or not.
So im going to attempt to practice what i preach to others; work/life balance, life meaning, SLOW living etc, and take it SLOW in honour of my friend who no longer has the choice.


Rixa said...

Oh, I am so sorry about your friend. I think it's wise to really take your maternity leave to be with family and to live life. I didn't have an official leave (but I wasn't employed either, just a grad student) but I really didn't do much with my writing for a year or more. Then it felt like the right time to get back to work on the dissertation.

Julie said...

Having been forced to slow down a bit lately - once I got over being p-ed off - I have actually found it a wonderful opportunity to live more in the moment with my kids. I can't imagine how I could possibly say goodbye to my girls if I had been given the same prognosis as your friend, so I am feeling even more blessed right now. Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

kouji haiku said...

a terrible situation. does put things in perspective.

life is short, after all. and in the end, i feel, it's our relationships with the ones we care about, that will matter most.

Laura Jane said...

Slow is good Kel.

SO sorry to hear about your friend. Some parts of life just SUCK! It is almost unimaginable to KNOW that one is running out of a very shortened supply of days.

And cherishing your boy bean is a good plan, that will always feel like a good option. They grow up so fast.

The folks at work won't actually care, they will be so absorbed in their own navels or affairs.

Kel said...

thanks for your kind words and support. im trying hard to be 'on leave'. life sure sucks sometimes huh?

Sharon J said...

Things like this really do bring it home to you just how important that time spent with your little 'uns is. My heart goes out to your friend. What a truly awful situation to be in - makes my problems fade into oblivion.

Kel said...

hi sharon. yes, it really puts life into perspective. hopefully, i can hang onto that perspective ad not swing right back after a few months!

Karin said...

I'm so sorry about your friend. Life is so cruel. I hope that the time is longer than anticipated. It's another reminder to be here in the moment now. I try. I will remember and continue trying.