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Hi, my name is Kathy. I am relatively new to being an unpaid carer and it took me sometime before I even would call myself such and come to terms with this new chapter of our lives. My hubby was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2019, aged just 51, and around 6 months later the pandemic hit…

I have started writing a blog all about my journey, with a hope that it not only helps me, but also others who may be able to relate, as carers present or past. Hopefully it will be a help on some level, or at least a comfort other people on a similar journey.

My blog is on my Facebook page which is called ‘My blog’ (username Katunpaidcarer) if you wish to take a look. But extracts are going to shared here too.

It is nearly Christmas and, a few weeks back, the work on the house was practically done (minus a few minor things) and the builder and his mess have left the house. One less thing to deal with now. It is a relief to have our home in its new extended state, back. And finally, Christmas has arrived and the decorations are up!

The job situation continued to be a challenge to me as the relief work I took on was not really giving me work and there was far more IT involved than I first envisioned. I am not afraid of IT but I guess I am more hands on, a doer and wanted more contact with clients (in my head) than sitting behind a desk.

They are lovely there and I feel drawn to the place. But as money has got very stretched with the building work and Christmas obviously costs, I felt I could not contribute or even cover my outgoings.

Yes, I hear you ask, am I not getting benefits? M is finally getting somewhere with PIP and hopefully any time now we will get the paperwork through to see what benefits they warrant him being able to have. He has his blue badge, which is such a help.

Once I know exactly and have the evidence, I can hopefully look online and see if I can claim. In the meantime a small trickle of money is needed. After speaking to my boss, I had to let her know I had been looking at other jobs. But not with a career in mind, more a means to an end.

I am now trialling an early morning cleaning job, but I have been very honest with the manager about needing a boss on my side who can be flexible because of M. And it is 5 days a week, 2 hours, early before M is up mostly – unless he does earlies, which is less these days. I get paid every 2 weeks.

I am seeing how this goes, because volunteering for JH may work better for me, and then I can do a little most weeks, rather than relief work.

But this is just one thing. The snow has come. Saturday night it came and we woke up to it pouring with snow on Sunday and a blanket. I love the snow, but there was a sadness. On my Facebook memories only five years ago is a picture of M and I going out together in the snow, for a gentle run and snowball fight. No more. I went out for a walk, simply beautiful.

It’s so wonderful to see families out enjoying the snow. But I was very aware that despite loving the beauty of the snow, I was alone. It was too dangerous and cold for hubby to venture out for even a short walk. He struggles with cold a lot more now and he didn’t even consider trying to walk in it in case he slipped. Running in the snow is a thing of the past.

I know I could try alone, but we always went together when it snowed and had fun when out there. I miss that. Now I worry for him even getting to the car in the icy conditions as it is now turning to ice out there. But there is an element of letting them do what they can do, while they can.

Because this too may change in a year or two, it could look very different. But we live in the present time. And go with what we have, right now.

But it doesn’t take away that sense of sadness, of loss, at times.

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