Janice kindly shared her courageous story as part of the Quest for Life Foundation Mothers Day Appeal. You can read the full letter here. Thank you Janice for sharing part of your journey with us.
I am the mother, and until recently, the main carer, for Daniel, my gorgeous 24 year old son who is autistic. Then 6 years ago, my husband (of 32 years) Pete, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. After the nearly 24 years of grief (for the son we had expected and never had) and the stress that came from living with him and his bizarre throwing and destructive behaviours, the blow of Pete’s diagnosis hit us for six. We’ve always felt that the prolonged stress of Daniel contributed to Pete’s disease. It may well have also contributed to our daughter, Kate (23), suffering from anxiety over the years, including being seriously ill with anorexia at age 11.
I am however a ‘fixer’, and have spent many of the last years trying to ‘fix’ Daniel, Pete and Kate. The cumulative stress and anger over these years has taken a toll and I have burned out and felt totally useless. Although I am on the surface fit and well, the added grief of watching my wonderful, strong, fit and capable husband slowly decline has been almost more than I can bear.
But together, and despite the restrictions of conventional western medicine, we have never given up hope that Pete can be well again. He continues to ride his mountain bike and we have adjusted our already healthy diet and exercise program. Then we came to Quest for Life, which provided us with the missing link, a program which taught us how to harness the power of the mind and how to live a ‘weller’ life right now. It taught me to live in the ‘now’, which I found so difficult before, and to slow my overwrought nervous system to find peace. One of the toughest lessons for me was learning that I also deserve to look after me and ‘fluff me up’ and that ironically is what best helps Pete, Daniel and Kate! I am learning that I can’t control everything and that is OK and yet ironically, the more both Peter and I meditate and slow down, the more in control we feel. We hope to incorporate what we have learned into Daniel’s confused world as well to help bring him to his own peace. For both of us, the program has been life-changing and we look forward to our future lives now with hope.