*I am at my “first home” now. I wrote this a few days ago, but am still feeling the warmth of my “second chemically safe home”.
I lay here in the bed given up by my sister in-law for my comfort. The bathroom off this room contains the “safe” shampoo and soap we use at home. She bought them. She removed every scented candle and even though we live far away, uses “safe” laundry products, so that when we’re together the products we use don’t get between us.
I have written much about J, my husband, as my hero…who steadfastly takes care of me, all else that life requires and does so as if it is easy. He and his sister inherited an awful lot of matching genes. She is a single mom with two children… loved, strong, compassionate children. I watch her this weekend, take care of one who of her kiddos who is running a fever, while hosting us, directing us all through a graduation, a swim meet and going to work each weekday.
Yesterday, J, my daughter and I visited my family- my parents and then my brother and his family who live within an hours distance from here. It was a good day for relationships, but a challenging one physically. I hadn’t seen the garden my parents have lovingly created or the changes to the inside of their home which make it feel like a vacation beach cottage. I appreciate their love, their hospitality (my mom makes sure we do not leave hungry!) and how hard they care about making to making their home “Kerry safe” (almost there).
Because I have not been able to see my brother and his family these past years as my illness along with my severe reaction to chemicals progressed (it takes time, trial and error, communication and an ability not to take my reaction to chemicals personally to create a “safe” environment), I was inadvertently exposed to many harmful chemicals. The toxins are hiding in baby wipes, antibiotic hand cleaner, air-freshener…all so seemingly innocent. It was wonderful to see my new born niece, my “lollipop” niece, my ‘love to play sports at two nephew’–to see my brothers beautiful family in their own home…but I left there with my CNS (Central Nervous System) intoxicated (without taking a sip of alcohol).
I had to close my eyes, under sunglasses, under a hat over my face, as my CNS could take no more input–no more chemicals, lights, movements, sound etc…without causing weakness to paralysis, pain, twitching, etc…
As my daughter drove us the hour back to my sister in-laws, I found myself thinking of her warm, “chemically safe” room waiting for me to recoup in and of my mother and father in-law, niece and nephew waiting there. I thought to myself “almost home”. Is there a greater way to feel about someone, as if their home is your own? To feel this as someone with an illness that makes me incredibly high maintenance, makes me smile from head to toes.
I lay here in bed this morning, thankful to have been able to get out earlier and arrive at my niece’s swim meet just in time to watch her swim butterfly in a relay race; I have waited ten years to watch her swim. She swims with grace; part fish it seems. I hoped to stay the morning to watch her races that followed, but the sunblock sprays, the crowd of people and the blaring music overwhelmed my CNS quickly. With my left side paralyzed J drove me back to his sisters.
He propped me up on pillows, turned on the TV, made sure my water glass was full, my computer and phone were charged and that I had everything I needed. I can picture my niece swimming the butterfly now–because I saw her, but for a minute, her grace in the water is engraved in my mind. J, my daughter, her grandparents and my sister in-law cheer her on. I am with them, as I rest here at “home”–
Home, a place where you know there is nothing to be, but what one is…and that who one is, is loved and accepted completely. Home, a place where one feels safe. I am grateful for this second home, for my sis in-law, niece and nephew, who care so much and have worked hard, to make it so.