Blank October

I’ve just come through to my bedroom to go to bed. The main light was off already and my bedside light was glowing gently. Two Baclofen tablets were laid out ready for me to take, one at midnight, one at 6am. My emergency bag was at hand too, just in case I need in the night.

Noticing these things has made me cry. It’s not been uncontrollable sobbing, just gentle tears. I feel sad and anxious.

All this preparation, done with no prompting from me, shows that tonight it’s Zoë’s night. She’s been supporting me regularly for over three years now – she knows my routines and I feel completely comfortable in her company and care.

But earlier this evening I realised next Monday’s going to be her last regular night with me. I knew she was going away for a while and that she wasn’t sure what she’d be doing when she got back, but I hadn’t quite taken in the fact that our regular evenings and weekends together would be ending so soon.

This has floored me. It’s not just about losing Zoë’s sensitive support – Will’s not going to be doing regular nights from next month either, and Leftwing Idiot stopped his in July.

I looked at my support schedule for October earlier today and, apart from one night a week with Olive, and one with Ruth, everything else is blank. I’m recruiting for support workers at the moment and I’ve met some lovely candidates already, but getting to know new people from scratch feels daunting. I’ve got loads of exciting things lined up in the next few months, but who will be sharing them with me?

Will and Zoë know exactly when to leave me be, when to be firm, and when to reassure me. The support they provide is so intuitive it’s often invisible to me. I appreciate that things have to change – I just hadn’t quite prepared myself for so many of them changing at once.

But that’s the situation and I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end. Three weeks ago I didn’t know Rachel, who’s been providing some support since then, and she’s fitted in seamlessly. Sadly she isn’t able to commit to this long term.

My tears have stopped now. I still feel sad that I won’t be hanging out with Zoë each week, but I know our friendship will continue. Now the shock of realising next Monday will be our last evening together has worn off, I feel more settled.

It’s time for me to take the Baclofen that she’s thoughtfully put out, and go to sleep.

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