The Invisible Man

Christmas seems to have the habit of either bringing out the best or worst of emotions at this time. My daughter and I spent Christmas Day with my parents and whilst I enjoyed a lovely dinner and had some lovely presents I felt at times that I may as well have not been there. My parents are elderly and my dad proceeded to keep telling me about his experience of his illness and explanation of hyperkalemia. Err, I think your telling the wrong person dad about high potassium and all that it entails. My mum I find hard to reach at times as though I can never really tell her how I feel. She never asks, I never say. I feel really tired today and at times emotional, but I push these feelings away. My daughter is a young teenager with emotional and psychological problems that she is receiving treatment for. My dad mentions my daughter’s dad, who died nearly three years ago. My daughter understandably struggles more on Christmas Day with her emotions towards her dad. My dad in his own way, thinks he’s helping.

Nobody asks if we had a nice time away on our recent trip to York.

My dad has his own health problems and talks about his stoma over dinner.

I feel drained emotionally and physically. I feel guilty about my feelings, as my parents have invited us to dinner.


One of my sisters phones from Canada. Despite my mum saying that my daughter and I were there, I don’t think she asked how we were and didn’t ask to speak to me. My mum tells her about the Consultant not been in clinic last week for my dads appointment. There is no mention of the fact I need to have a surgical procedure on my dialysis access in a few weeks under G.A. This scenario of sibling calls happens every year. No matter which sister phones. Then I’m meant to look interested when my mum proceeds to tell me what they’re all doing in their lovely houses in Canada. I sit with a fixed smile upon my face. I know that two of my brothers are spending Christmas Day together. I know that my two sisters in Canada speak to each other regularly. I know that my younger brother will visit my parents over the Christmas period. I feel like screaming at times. What about me? Who cares? Why do I bother?

I feel guilty because my dad has had a rough time with his own ill health.

I show my mum the poem that I have won a competition to be in the final of and have my poem published. She reads it and hands it back. Doesn’t say a word. May be the poem hit a nerve. Maybe she doesn’t want to acknowledge my true feelings.

Somehow the lyrics of Queens ‘The Invisible Man’ just seem so apt.




3 thoughts on “The Invisible Man

  • Family gatherings can be great occasions but sometimes they only serve to expose the cracks that we choose to paper over. It’s sad that you couldn’t enjoy the time you had together but sometimes you just have to get on with your own life, be yourself and ignore the expectations of others. Good luck with your upcoming surgery and never forget you’re a good person Helen.

    • Thanks Rob. Sometimes I’m never sure whether I’m emotional because of the situation or because sometimes I’m just so tired & exhausted.

  • I believe that people, especially close family members, tend to believe we must be fine and not have any problems when, or even if they ask how we are. Are they really interested? Do they really want to know? So we get into a habit of just replying ” fine” all the time, when we really just want to scream and tell them, no we are not alright and things are not fine.
    It doesn’t matter how long anyone has dealt with this illness, it does get to us from time to time, and sometimes we are not fine, not coping and could really do with some support. Be it emotional or physical. That’s when groups like this come to the fore, they allow us to let it all out where people WILL understand what we are going through.
    Best of luck with your upcoming surgery and with your poem x

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