My daughter Sarah was a Christmas baby born on 21st December. She will celebrate her 23rd birthday this year and will no doubt have Doctor Who merchandise top of her wish list.
I am not just ‘Mummy’ as Sarah still insists on calling me, I am her primary carer as my lovely girl has a learning disability and is dependent on my assistance.
Being a carer is at times challenging especially when there is no-one else to help at home.
I have been very thankful over the years for the various kinds of support groups and respite care on offer that have kept me going and helped me feel a little less alone in the task since my divorce.
I am grateful for a loving Sister and Dad who are always only a phone call away for a chat and the occasional helping hand.
People often say to me, “I don’t know how you do it all, looking after Sarah and being a full-time Minister.” The answer is, I don’t know any other way of being as Sarah is my only child and this is my ‘normal’. (If there is such a thing as normal?)
That is not to say that I don’t get a bit ragged now and then wishing that I only had to get myself up and ready instead of both of us on my rest day from Circuit ministry.
There will of course be many carers in and around Littleport reading this who will have a pretty good idea of the personal cost of looking after dependent relatives, the over-riding motive being that we love them.There will also be those who care for friends and neighbours with no familial ties and yet the same commitment and care applies. Trying to find appropriate and reliable respite care is not easy in today’s economic climate.
Added to that the issues of quality of care and safeguarding the vulnerable, the outcome is that many carers keep on coping putting extreme pressure on marriages and other family relationships.
Christmas can be a lonely time for many people when it would seem that almost everyone else is having a jolly festive time with friends and family. For many carers there is no respite just because it is the Christmas holiday.
Spare a thought for a friend or neighbour; you could offer to sit with the person cared for a couple of hours to give a carer a break or the chance to do some shopping, whatever it maybe.
Christ came as the Servant King and Christians are called to follow his example.
But whether you believe or not, showing kindness to a neighbour especially one in need is a very decent thing to do and need not be confined to the Christmas season either.
We invite you to join with us as we celebrate Christ’s birth once again at St John’s Methodist Church. We wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a hopeful New Year.
Reverend Joanne Sherwood