It was dreadfully aggravating. As she – in her mid-teens – intended it to be.
Carers get to recognise the grown-up equivalent of “Sucks to be you.” It’s cast at them so frequently by non-carers leading non-caring lives. Lives with free time, social events, holidays, sick days, pampering sessions, disposable income and a ‘lifestyle.’
It’s the response you get from all sorts of people, both friends and family, when you try and express some of the frustration of your situation.
Let me think of a handful:
“Worse things happen at sea,”
“You’ll just have to put up with it,”
“Offer it up,”
“Oh well, what can you do?”
“That’s just the way it is,”
“You can’t change things,
“We’ve all been there.” (My personal bete noir. One smug woman who once said this to me is on my personal never-to-be-forgiven list – and I can carry a grudge, me. Let her beware when she chokes in a public place with noone but me to rely on for the Heimlich Manoeuvre. Things will go hard with her, I can tell you).
O, and last but not least, Silence, and change of subject. This is probably the most hurtful and infuriating of all.
Yes, non-carers are very philosophical indeed about the situation of carers. They can take it on the chin.
But when they have a problem, oh my! You wouldn’t get very far saying any of the above to the very same person when Farrow & Ball sends the wrong shade of cream or their freezer breaks down or their Caribbean cruise is ‘a nightmare’ or their child doesn’t get the grades they wanted for him.
Do I sound bitter?
I mean to.
“Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?” asks William Blake.
Can you? You’re darn tootin right you can. Carers up and down the country can testify to it.
If you’ve had enough of being overlooked, do join the Carers (virtual) Strike and tell the world that we are no different from them.