Where I Have Been the Last 4 Months


Today, I want to share with you why you haven't heard from me over the past 4 months, and the deep lessons that I have learned about taking care of yourself and how that radiates out into the rest of your life.

What I am sharing with you is very personal and I really sense that this is valuable for you to hear. 

I took time off from this newsletter and scaled back in my private work with clients because I was deeply needed to care for my family.

I hope that you are able to take in what I am sharing with you and that there are pieces that you can identify with and learn from whether or not you are a caregiver.

When I last wrote to you, I had just made my big move from NYC to DC to live with my beloved.

The beauty of this move is that it also brought me closer to my family. Little did I know then how divine the timing of this move was and what a gift it would be that I was in DC at that time.

At the beginning of April, during my second week of living in DC, my dad suffered a massive stroke in both his right and left cerebellum.  My dad miraculously survived a stroke that most people do not, but his journey since the stroke has not been an easy one or very straightforward.

I have now taken on the role of a caregiver that I had never imagined.

As many of you know, my father had been the primary caregiver of my mom who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. With my father in critical condition and not able to make choices or care for my mom I took on the role of the head of the household overseeing both of their care, and at times physically tending to their needs.

My dad has now been in the hospital environment for the last 4 months, first in the ICU for 2 months and now at National Rehab Hospital for the past 2 months receiving occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy.

I have always said that when life is most stressful it is when you need to up-level your self-care the most.

This became even more clearly true to me over the past 4 months as I had never experienced such demands on myself, my energy and my physical presence than what was necessary in the care of my dad and mom, the management of their well-being, and affairs.

In the beginning when my dad was in critical care I was at the hospital daily, managing his care, advocating for him and making sure he felt supported. 

I soon recognized that I was losing my personal rhythm, not getting enough sleep, not eating meals regularly, and not having time to exercise or move my body - let alone spend time with friends and loved ones, be creative, and do the things that make me feel joyful, alive and whole.

I could sense that if I continued in this fast paced rhythm ignoring my needs that I would surely burn out, which was not an option as I was the person holding this delicate situation together.

I thought to myself: If I can't take care of myself, how can I be responsible for anyone else?!

I knew in my bones that I didn’t want to lose myself, or let my health go, and I did not want to resent being there for my parents, or make poor decisions.

It was important to me to feel well and to be able to be openhearted in my giving of my presence and energy to my family.

It became clear to me very quickly that in order to show up every day in the way that I would desire to, that I needed to hold boundaries for myself, take care of myself.

Many people forewarned me that the journey after surviving a stroke is a slow process that is more of a marathon pace. There was no way I would be able to sustain this sprint like pace for an uncertain amount of time.

In the face of the uncertainty of the results or what was achievable in the future for my dad, I asked myself :: How do you want to feel through this journey?

My answer ::
Whole, Centered, Supported, Nourished, Expressive, LOVE

In just a few days I will share with you how I created space for myself and found a way to take care of myself when I was really needed, and what I did to up-level my self-care.

I want to thank you for your presence in this community. I am so looking forward to reconnecting with you and thank you for all of your love and support!

Wishing you a wonderful end of summer & radiant health,

Fran Darnell