Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Take a tour of the blog

A guided tour of the blog.
I write mostly about 3 things:

1. Cross cultural life 

As an Australian living overseas in a cross cultural marriage and bringing up cross cultural kids I'm reading and writing my way through this adventure - join me! 
Maybe you also live between worlds or maybe you are seeking to support and understand those who do? Most of these posts are my thoughts after experiencing and reading about issues such as Third Culture people and re-entry. 

Others can be found tagged as 

2. Chronic illness related issues 

The starter pistol story of my chronic illness interest can be found here: 

Some other chronic illness posts are: 
Better yet?

Soeun and Katherine, February 2010, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.
One year before the Dizzy Monster joined us. 

3. Chronicling our life 

In "time capsule" posts I share our news and photos from the month
(mostly tagged as journal).

Other ways to explore my blog

I'm also writing about Books I'm reading these days and Homeschool

For fun I sometime do a Five Minute Friday free write tagged as fmf, and the monthly link up with A Chronic Voice

Popular posts in the sidebar are another way if you want to have a look around, or the tags/labels if you scroll right down (web version only).

Friday, April 12, 2019

What do poor people lack?

It has been a long hot humid day here in Cambodia. Feeling so tired and slow, but wanting to try the 5 min free write today anyway.... hope it makes sense. Linking up with FMF. This week the word is LACK.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" A common question children get asked in some places. But it makes no sense to others.

According to When Helping Hurts, rich people describe poverty as lack of food, money, water, medical, housing etc. A focus on the material. Where as poor people emphasize things like shame, inferiority, powerlessness, fear, voicelessness etc. More social and psychological than material.

I know the bad that can come from a medical misdiagnosis. You end up not getting better, sometimes getting worse. The authors say this is what happens in poverty alleviation. The rich people don't know what the actual problem is (but they think they do) so they might go about solving it the wrong way.

I skim read this article today, about how we equate having a life with having choice. It reminded me of a weekend away I went on in my first year of uni. At that stage of life it is all so exciting to be choosing a career and working towards it but stressing about it too. We were reminded for most people in the world that stress is actually not an issue as there is no choice, its about survival.

 Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Hot Season, Homeschool and Holidays {A Chronic Voice linkup}

The last few months I've been enjoying A Chronic Voice linkups. Chronic illness bloggers use Sheryl's 5 word prompts and write a post for the month. You can see the other April ones here.

Its Khmer New Year here in Cambodia! And hot season season- with humid weather and power cuts just to make sure we get the most out of the season.

Prompts this month: Tiring, Educating, Giving, Receiving, Quieting

A Khmer New Year powder fight a few years ago.

Tiring- hot season and health

Now is not the time of year to work out if the fatigue is a medical problem, everyone is so tired and hot and grumpy, I was definitely sick throughout cool season and I’m pretty sure there is still something different now, but I will wait until this hot humid weather is over to think about it.
Do less. Drink more water. My hot season motto.

Educating- Homeschooling our kids

I was surprised to learn that kindergarten kids only need to do a really short amount of school work each day/week.  A few years ago I met with an educator and mother to ask her about homeschooling and I think she said something like just maybe 20 min in the morning, and just maths and reading/writing were important at that age.

When I was 6 I was spending the whole day at school so I think I assumed that homeschooling would be school at home, and would take maybe 5 or 6 hours a day. And maybe it does when they are older, but for early primary school just a bit of the 3 Rs is most important. The rest of the time they play, we read to them, they make things, they help cook and clean, they watch things on YouTube- sometimes just for fun, sometimes to answer all their science questions.

Being a homeschool family is more of a lifestyle or mindset for us at this stage, there is some testing we can access but it doesn’t start until the child is 8 years old. It’s cheaper than school for us here in Cambodia which was the impetus. Happily it also gives us flexibility to spend more time together as a family, which counters the disruptive unpredictable flares of chronic illness.  

Giving and Receiving- Personal holidays

Soeun and I give each other days or time off from the kids. As much as we love them and like spending time together we need time to ourselves too.

Giving Soeun time off could look like keeping the kid occupied at the front of the house, while he is in his office at the back. Or it could mean taking them out to visit a friend or play at the mall.

Receiving time off sometimes means having rest or read in a room by myself.  Often it means riding my bike into town and reading/writing in a cafĂ© or even a guesthouse. The fun of living in a tourist town means even though we don’t really have parks or cool weather there are still places I can go to read.

Quieting- a foreign concept in April

Between tired grumpy kids and Khmer New Year celebrations its not within my control to quiet things down. This time of year Cambodia goes crazy. Everyone is travelling, drinking, throwing water and powder, dancing and turning up their music. Even during long hot power cuts the karaoke will not be quieted!

Friday, April 05, 2019

Offering Comfort {fmf}

The other day was a long hot day of being around my kindergarten aged children. I was exhausted and wishing I could take a break. But that night I was reading a bit about young children going to boarding school,and the pain this causes and felt glad, that despite the stress I could be around mine 24/7.
Having that perspective helped me, but I remembered a time when it was actually harmful.
Many well meaning people  said things which sounded comforting when my husband was sick, so I said “thank you”. I could see they thought they were giving me a soothing mug of chamomile tea, but if felt like they were stabbing me with a blunt knife.  

“At least things aren’t as bad as they could be.”

“But you have so much to be thankful for.”

And I also talked to myself in this way. From this distance of over 6 years later it feels like these conversations made things worse. Like I was ignoring the fact I was going through something like the trauma and grief of losing a spouse  (although he wasactually present despite it feeling like he was absent) and just focusing on thing like how nice it was to drink milk again after living in Cambodia for five years.  

Why did I say thanks when I was being stabbed? Was it because I thought those words should help, because in previous times of stress they had? Was it because I was confused about how I felt as I didn’t have my husband to talk to and work it out? Was it because I wanted to let people feel like they had helped me and end the conversation on a high note? Whatever the reason I’m glad to be reading Megan Devine these days.

 Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Linking up with Five minute Friday.  free write for five minutes flat on a one-word writing prompt. (OFFER)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

February (and a bit of March): Full of firsts and fun. {Time capsule}

Straight after  I posted the time capsule about New Year- I felt like another new year was starting. While January was full of new things, February was also full of firsts and beginnings.

Dinner prep by Soeun for House Church

First time going to church together 3/2/19
Once a month our  (English language) House Church has a meal together after our Sunday afternoon meeting. The first Sunday in February was our first time to go all together. The kids and I have been going to HC as much as we can for about just over a year now, with Soeun joining us once a year in December. In January we finished up at our Khmer church, so February was the start of our new Sundays. Its a potluck meal and we took a Khmer meat dish Soeun made.

First school-y type home school activities 4/2/19
In the first week of Feb I was greeted by the sight of the magnet letters arranged in order on the fridge. The kids stood proudly beside it to see my reaction.

I was surprised, and also surprised to discover that it was like the starter pistol for our school type work. The kids have been out of preschool since June, just playing and we've been reading to them. I was thinking at some stage to start some letters and numbers with our oldest but it hadn't been time yet.

Suddenly it was time and we set up the small table with their chairs in the home school room. A few mornings a week the older does a little bit of maths or letters, while the younger keeps herself busy with snipping and scribbling.

Coincidentally early Feb is also the start of the Australian school. I hadn't planned that we would necessarily follow the Aus school year.

First warm days and Chinese New Year 5/2/19
That same week CNY, and on that very day the weather suddenly got a bit warmer, after months of cool season. People in China call it Spring Festival, and it feels like a fitting name for it here, much more than it does in north east China where everything is still frozen at that time of year!

First football match with newly formed team 9/2/19
Since December Soeun has spent one afternoon a week with some local boys and a football trainer. This new nameless team had its first match on the second Saturday in Feb. Soeun is still feeling surprised and excited about the team.

First trip to a new community out of town 10-11/02/19
The day after the first football match, Soeun left on his motorbike for his first visit to a new church a couple of hours away. He got there in time for their Sunday afternoon meeting and stayed overnight and spent some time meeting the community the next day. I'm not sure if new church is an accurate description, we are still learning about the situation. He came in contact with them through a church we used to be part of, they sent a pastor to live there and requested Soeun come and help with Bible teaching.

Ready for a long ride to the teaching location

First time teaching How to Study the Bible (again)
In late late Feb, so late it ended up being in March, Soeun spent another couple of nights out of town. He was helping teach a course with others at a location new to him. He loves teaching How to Study the Bible and was excited he got time at the end to help the students practice their new skill, not just regurgitate information for an exam.

First fun for the kids
We dug out a Lego kit we were given ages ago. Our oldest was so excited to play with his own Lego for the first time! And then we bought a second box at a toy shop. He already uses anything and everything to build, so he was more than ready.

Daddy asked them to water the plants...

We read books every day, and we still have a few books that we received back in June that we haven't read yet! In Feb I read them a kids book about the Titanic. It was their first time to hear about it, and our oldest became even more obsessed with boat building than before.

We are also reading other new interesting titles about alligators, Lewis and Clark and Johnny Appleseed. Each of these books needs to be read to them multiple times a day and they branch off into other lines of interest and research. Mostly to do with American history and animals. Like the ground hog, which is also called a Woodchuck. This branched out into learning the tongue twister. So many fun things for kids to learn, so far we have been following their interests and looking things up on Youtube together to learn science and history. 

The kids also happily played in the water for basically the first time. In this tropical tourist town lots of playdates revolve around the swimming pool. Its mostly not that fun for us but hopefully things are changing.

Soeun sent the kids on a treasure hunt one day. They had to read a map he drew and follow it until they found their afternoon snack in a jar! He put it together while they were asleep, they were so surprised. Our oldest had so much fun he responded by making a map for Daddy too. 

Our son's own idea and design: mini beach umbrellas for his toy beach 
One week we had some Khmer friends and relatives staying for a few nights. The kids had so much fun with them while I had some time off to read etc. In their wake then left some lovely potted plants on our front steps, as well as a variety of homemade toys such as a cardboard sword and a pull along vehicle made from a bottle and bottle lids.
Homemade beach

And now I'm posting this when it is already half way through March, hot season has started!! This week is mostly 38. Our water pump seems to be complaining. Really hoping its because its broken and not because of the extra hot and extra dry time we're in. In Aus during a drought the government will put water restrictions in place. Here it seems some people on town water just have their water turned off randomly for long unpredictable stretches. We've been trying to use less the last few weeks, we still have maybe a month and half of official hot season to go though. 

Friday, March 08, 2019

2 ways to read more of the Bible {fmf}

Years ago I was using a Bible reading plan that took me through the whole Bible at least once in the space of two years. I did it twice in a row, back to back. In the space of four years I read the whole 66 books at least twice, some parts would have been more (I think some Psalms were repeated a few times.)

A couple of years ago I read the book of Revelation. I started in November 2016 and finished around April 2018. It took about a year and a half to read just one of those 66 books. (I didn't plan the timing, it just took how long it took.)

In some ways it feel like I read the Bible more with the whole Bible reading plan, I certainly read more of it. In other ways it feels like I read more of the Bible when I took about 18 months to read one book.

With the whole Bible reading plan, I had to skim read two new passages each day, and sometimes read a devotion on it.

With Revelation I read it myself, I read it with a group and used a study book. I listened to the Bible online while I was cleaning, I listened to Phillip Jensen sermons, he had at least one sermon on each part. I read a Paul Barnett book. I read each chapter again and again. I wrote about it such as this and this. I was fully immersed in it for all those months.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday...a one-word prompt every week, and you have the opportunity to free write for five minutes flat on that one word, then join the link-up...this week the word is MORE

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Searching for an origin {fmf}

"Where are you from?"

I wondered how my son was going to answer this question when it was put to him by a stranger in a supermarket. I was busy choosing which oats to buy. The ones with environmentally friendly packaging, or budget friendly price?

The stranger tried to answer his own question based on my children's accents.

"England? New Zealand?"

His guesses sort of surprised me, but my son's answer surprised me more.


Neither of his parents are Thai, and he doesn't live in Thailand. But, to be fair, he was born there. He was totally blank when the stranger started speaking Thai language to him though.

As a Third Culture Adult I find that question hard enough to answer myself, so it will be interesting to see what the next generation make of it.

End of Five Minutes

After reading blogs like this one, about the culture gap between expat parents and their children I realised it would be useful to find out more. At the moment I'm reading some books about Third Culture Kids (TCKs). I don't know if my children fit exactly and exclusively into that category (and everyone is different anyway) but they are definitely at least one type of Cross Cultural Kid (CCK). Growing up in Cambodia with a Cambodian father, but an Australian mother.

My reading started back here with Between Worlds, but these are books I'm part way through at the moment:

Third Culture Kids: Growing up among worlds seems to be like the "Bible" of TCK literature. And the 3rd edition broadens out to include CCKs generally.
"...the authority on "TCKs"--children of expatriates, missionaries, military personnel and others who live and work abroad. With a significant part of their developmental years spent outside of their passport country, TCKs create their own, unique "third" cultures. 

Authors Pollock and Van Reken pioneered the TCK profile, which brought to light the emotional and psychologoical realities that come with the TCK journey, often resulting in feelings of rootlessness and grief but also an increased confidence and ability to interact with many cultures.... widens the net to discuss the experiences of CCKs, cross-cultural kids, who are immigrants, international adoptees or the children of biracial or bicultural parents." 

"Tanya has spent 13 years working with, and advocating for, Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Her research focuses on TCKs born after 1985 – those who grew up in the internet age. If this topic is new to you (or even if it isn’t!) a good place to begin exploring is Tanya’s explanation of what “Third Culture” is and why it matters to expat children"

Finding Home is a collection of stories from different people about their experience of growing up outside their passport country.

"Who are Third Culture Kids? What makes their experience of identity, home, belonging, travel, trauma, school unique? And yet, what connects them together, across the globe?
How can parents and educators and friends support the TCKs we know and love as they walk through issues as diverse as transitioning to university in their passport country, where they may never have lived, to how to navigate being ethnically of one country but belonging to a family from a different country through adoption while living in still another country?"

Linking up with Five Minute Friday... a one-word prompt every week, and you have the opportunity to free write for five minutes flat on that one word, then join the link-up...the word: SEARCH

Photo credit: multiple places on the internet 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Just do the next thing. Our steps towards home-school. {fmf}

It started as a financial issue. A few years ago we realised would probably need to home-school our children. I met with people, read blogs, started to learn about it. We discovered we had more reasons than just financial to home-school. It seemed like a great idea but still totally scary and overwhelming.

Leading up to when the kids finished at preschool was stressful. But then just at the right time we realised the reasons we had enrolled the kids in preschool weren't needs anymore.

I was wondering what kids books and toys and educational activities I should be looking to buy, and where to get them and how to pay for them? But then just at the right time, a friend was moving back to America. She has a child a bit older than ours, and we ended up with soooo many kids books, puzzles, stationary etc.

And what about friends? Preschool had been our whole social life for a couple of years. Now we wouldn't have that anymore and we were moving out of town. But then just at the right time a homeschooling expat family moved out of town too! And a few more moved to town from elsewhere, and a couple of families started homeschooling.

End of 5 min.

After that came a few months of getting used to being at home together, they call it deschooling. It was uncomfortable. Next both Soeun and I became a bit unwell. A few months we were both extra tired, but just at the right time the kids seemed to start playing together more, and getting more involved in their own creations. And then just as the school year in Aus started the kids and I both seemed ready to start some letters and numbers work some mornings a week.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday, for JUST
.. a one-word prompt every week, and you have the opportunity to free write for five minutes flat on that one word, then join the link-up...word prompt:

Friday, February 15, 2019

Not really sure {fmf}

"At its best, I think all the arts allow us to tell ourselves our own story. The canvas or the page or the theater is always willing, always open to receive, and to mirror back, that which needs to be said. It's a gesture from the inner world to the outer one. In a way, we let a thing be true when we express it in creative form. In telling ourselves a story, we give shape to something real. In sharing what we create, we give others a chance to enter our world, if even just for a moment."

Megan Devine 

The Unexpected Practice That Helped Me Cope With Grief — When Nothing Else Could

My husband was dizzy. 
For two years. 
For no reason.

That was over 5 years ago.

But now things are manageable. So I wasn't really sure why it felt so good to write about The Dizzy Monster in my spouse for My Migraine Brain a few years ago, or if it was a good thing to be doing. But the other week when I read this Megan Devine article I felt confident about it. Writing about grief is "a gesture from the inner world to the outer one".

"Tell the story until you don't need to tell it anymore" came up in a Facebook group last month. I think in relation to trauma recovery.  This made sense of what had been going on for me recently. Life has settled down now, no major changes or stressful things, but my recent blogging includes a dark blindfolded photo. I was unsure why something like that felt so good, but now I'm thinking of blogging as post counselling therapy.  I'm feeling confident that it is a useful thing to be doing. 

End of 5 min.

The posts I was thinking of while writing this one:

Linking up with Five minute Friday

... a one-word prompt every week, and you have the opportunity to free write for five minutes flat on that one word, then join the link-up...The word this week is confident

Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash  

Friday, February 08, 2019

From boredom to building {fmf}

"I'm bored"

I often hear this from our kids. It can be a torturous 20 minutes when the kids feel like they don't have anything to do.

But what happens next is amazing.

They build things.

Over the last 6 months we've had some indoor structures big enough to climb into. A house, a boat, a spaceship. Sometimes with multiple rooms and various windows and skylights.

We've also seen small things built such as rockets, planes and helicopters. These are usually made to just the right size to be held and flown around inside or outside.

The building materials include but not are limited to- furniture, suit cases, blankets, pillows, pegs, rubber bands, cracker boxes, oat tins, the old broken bread maker....

Sometimes the boredom hits when I'm in the middle of doing something. I'm always trying to decide if I should drop what I'm doing and play with them. To play or not to play? Either way somebody is going to be upset.  I've been trying to remember all these amazing creations, hopefully it will make the next time of boredom easier, at least for me.

... a one-word prompt every week, and you have the opportunity to free write for five minutes flat on that one word, then join the link-up...word prompt: BUILD

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

5 ways living with undiagnosed illness in the family is stressful {A Chronic Voice linkup}

I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, it was too overwhelming. 

But now all these years later, and with the help of A Chronic Voice‘s February Link up prompts I’m able to explain some of the things that made the initial years of Soeun’s sickness so hard.

My husband was consumed by an incapacitating, invisible, incurable disease. I didn't have any of the physical symptoms but it had a huge impact on me. 

The stressors listed here are about what it was like before we had a diagnosis; he is still sick but now but we are not in crisis. We have a name and a way to manage it.  Although some stressors are still part of our life this list is mostly in past tense. 

I’m thankful for chronic illness websites and counselling that helped me identity these stressors , I hope this list can help you and your family too.

 1. Adjusting to unexpected change

We didn’t know we were adjusting to a new normal. It only dawned on us years later. We weren’t given a warning or time to prepare. It took us by surprise. And even after the symptoms started we kept making plans, thinking that he would get better soon. It was always about waiting to see the next doctor to work out what was wrong and how to cure it.

2. Hoping in vain for health

I was always eager to see what was around the next corner. What would the next doctor say? What would the next test results reveal?  Always hoping there will be answers or something new to try.  It was horrible seeing Soeun in pain for so long, I kept hoping it would end. Surely he will be healthy in a few weeks’ time? The frustration of watching him in pain and not knowing why motivated me to keep waiting to see that next doctor, or try that lifestyle change.

 3. Surviving without him

“When will my husband get better?” morphed into “Will he ever get better?” and we just had to live day by day.

A heavy pile of symptoms had swallowed him up. It was hard to imagine him ever coming back to life. Physically present, with all normal test results, looking healthy- but it felt like he was absent. I missed the person he was before he got sick.

Without Soeun daily stressors were harder to cope with; I was used to talking to him about everything. Happy experiences also became hard to deal with as I had been used to sharing everything with him. I discovered it was hard to enjoy anything if Soeun couldn’t enjoy it too. I didn’t know how to function without him, or even how to articulate that’s what was happening. And it felt selfish to focus on my own pain when I wasn’t even the sick one.

Living with uncertainty. Not knowing why he had gone, or having medical acknowledgement that something was wrong, not having a treatment plan, not knowing if he would come back to life or if he would be like this forever? Or would he actually die? Just surviving.

4.  Befriending and social isolation

We had just moved to a new community when the symptoms hit.  People started befriending us...well trying to anyway. When we were invited to events it became to frustrating and disappointing. We would say “yes” to an invitation but on the day Soeun would be sick so I would end up going by myself, or not going at all.

As a few one-offs that’s kind of OK, not so OK when it becomes the norm. I hated not being able to keep commitments, not being able to show people they are important to us by spending time with them.

It became easier not to make plans, and then we didn’t have the disappointment of breaking them.  So I came to dread invitations, but also dreaded that people would give up inviting us.  

The Chronic Traveller has a more poetic way to describe this- The Well of Despair.

5. Awakening and unsolicited medical advice.

I didn’t have a way to describe this at the time; it was a nameless struggle. When we shared our medical issues with people they tried to help- so why did that make me want to scream? I should be grateful for help.

It wasn’t until years later I came across websites such as The Mighty, Fruitful Today and My Migraine Brain and found others had the same struggle. The awakening was such a relief and I allowed myself to feel the bitterness that had confused me at the time. I was able to move on from delayed bitterness when I read words from a Christian teenager:

"I have to choose to respond graciously and not be bitter towards people for misunderstanding what I’m going through. They have never been chronically ill so they can’t possibly know how hard it is. Jesus has demonstrated so much grace toward me and He is teaching me to reflect Him in my relationships."

This issue was described in a positive way recently by Erica on A Chronic Voice 7 ways to be a better friend to the chronically ill:

"2. Listen Without Trying to Provide a Solution
Sometimes I’m just frustrated and complaining. I’m not looking for you to fix the problem – I just want someone to listen. I’ve more than likely tried or heard the suggestions or advice you have to offer. Listen with an open mind and really hear what I have to say."

Its seems partners of the invisibly ill are likely to either end up with their own health problems too, or the relationships breaks down. I don't have any stats on that, just from the situations I've seen. When your partner keeps saying they are sick but the doctors say they are fine it looks like they are lazy and unwilling to pull their weight;  leaving may feel like the only option for some if this goes on over time.  I refer to Soeun's sickness as '"our sickness" which sometimes ends up being confusing, but its a mindset I find helpful.

Its only in recent years I've had counselors who listened first and found out the actual issue. My pain was seen, they used words like grief and trauma. At the time, all those years ago I didn't know how to explain it, and the only help I received didn't seem to have any positive impact. 

If its a choice between divorce and PTSD, I'm happy to take the trauma. But hopefully there is something in between. If you know someone in this situation it might help them to find ways to work out what is happening for them emotionally.  In last month's linkup I wrote about this under Allowing Emotion and posted some grief resources which might be helpful.
 Photo by Tony Rojas on Unsplash

Friday, February 01, 2019

Are you a big rice eater? {fmf}

... a one-word prompt every week, and you have the opportunity to free write for five minutes flat on that one word, then join the link-up...


It looked like such a small serving of rice, I had to laugh. Eating rice with my parents and siblings in Australia meant I had to ask for more.

It was such a confusing experience for me as when I'm in Cambodia with my in-laws they are always careful to serve me an extra small plate of rice.

I'm pretty sure I eat the same amount which ever place I'm in, but next to Cambodians I eat hardly any rice,  in contrast to Australians I'm used to a bigger serving of rice.

Its easy to talk about rice. Something obvious and tangible. There are so many other aspects of culture which are hidden below the surface. Out of sight, but they make up the bulk of the iceberg.

Depending on where you are, "normal" is different.  Its fun when you can see it and talk about it, like the rice. Not so fun when it unknowingly shapes communication.

So, am I a big rice eater? Well, depends on where I am.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Frozen sadness conveniently sums up my whole blog... {fmf}

... a one-word prompt every week, and you have the opportunity to free write for five minutes flat on that one word, then join the link-up...

The Frozen Sadness of Ambiguous Loss is a blog post that conveniently ties together two of the main things I'm reading and writing about these days, so I was excited to read it yesterday.

Marilyn Gardner writes about her Adult Third Culture Kid life and as I've mentioned before (Between Seasons) I started reading her books and blogs to learn about Third Culture Kids (TCKs) but also found I related a lot as a third culture adult. Expat life in a cross cultural family is one of the things I read and write about most at the moment, and TCKs  are part of that. The losses of the TCK is what she was writing about here, but buried at the bottom of a paragraph I found this bit which I bolded:

"I move on and find out there are two types of ambiguous loss: One is that the person/place/family is physically absent, but psychologically present, in that they may reappear. This can be loss from divorce, moving, boarding school, migration. The other is that the person is physically present, but the core of who they are is absent. Examples of this are people with dementia or alzheimers.

It reminded me of a post I wrote back in 2012 when my husband was sick. It was like when he was physically present he was actually absent (being absent feels like he is more present).  At the time I couldn't really explain to anyone how painful that was, and it felt like there was no reason why it would be painful. This unexplainable struggle is the other main thing I've been writing, the impact of chronic illness in the family, and here it is, mentioned in a post about TCKs.

"This is it!"I felt like yelling.

And I read on, the author had the same moment ..."At this point, it comes to me: this is it! "

An example of my recent TCK thoughts:

An example of my recent thoughts about emotions related to chronic illness: