This weekend, there was a family wedding up North*. Unable to cope with such things, especially those that involve an overnight stay, I stayed home with Henry while everyone else left at various points in time between Friday lunch time and early Saturday morning.
By everyone else, I mean my Mum, Dad, Sister, Brother and their respective partners. My being alone for such a prolonged (yes, I really do consider one weekend prolonged) period of time would never have been an issue 8-10 years ago. But it hasn’t been possible for many, many years…until now. For the first time in a long, long time, the rest of the family left me…I was going to say without thinking twice, but that’s probably not true…but they left me without the same fear there has been in the past. I didn’t need extra input from the Community Mental Health Team, or any other kind of backup plan involving extended family. I wasn’t a potential danger to myself.
To clarify, I wasn’t alone, in the sense that I do have other close family to hand, and spoke to people on the phone at different times throughout the day. But I was alone in the sense that I was responsible for myself. I slept (soundly) in an empty house. I fed myself at appropriate times. I walked Henry for miles, fed him, and entertained him. I managed to relax, watch crappy weekend TV without getting too agitated, feeling guilty, or that I should be being more productive.
So when everyone arrived home this (Sunday) afternoon, I was in one piece. I, Henry and the house were all safe, clean and tidy. I doubt this will seem very remarkable to most people but, for me, it was something of an accomplishment, a small victory.
*Up North is obviously quite a loose description of a place, depending on where you are in the World.