The Deadly Stress



There’s never a dull moment, never a down time in my life, it seems. We have been in Hilton Head, SC for about five weeks now, and as it often happens, my health takes a nosedive as soon as I stop to rest.

After a month of December with stressful events at my church I was left quite drained and unmotivated, depressed actually. I did manage to get my mojo going again a couple of days before all the family arrived for Christmas celebrations, and then I sped into high gear.

I don’t know why I still think I have to be supermom, the Christmas fairy and Martha Stewart all rolled into one, but that’s what I attempt when my grown children come home for Christmas. The food traditions, the stocking traditions, the drawing on the revered tablecloth, I did it all and barely lived to tell the tale. This, coupled with four 2 ½ hour round  trips back and forth from the airport in some intense weather, all on the heels of December’s earlier events became more than I could handle. I mean, I handled it on the outside and thought I was doing pretty well. But inside I was not handling it. Don’t get me wrong- I loved every moment with my family. I think I just need to tone things down a bit and be easier on myself.

I am 64, not 44 or 34, but I keep thinking I can do everything I always did. Was I in for a rude awakening!

We took the last bunch to the airport on December 29th and then rushed home to shut down the house, pack the suitcases and car, clean out the fridge, clean the bathrooms, change beds and in general, get ready to drive three days to Hilton Head Island for three months. At 5AM on December 30 we left, in sub zero temperatures.

Once we arrived and settled in to the condo that has become our second home, bought the first grocery order and let everyone know we had arrived safely, the two of us collapsed. And about a week later I got sick.

What do you know; I had these suspiciously familiar symptoms with accompanying rash that a trip to the doctor confirmed as shingles…again. I had shingles three years ago as a result of intense stress in my life, and I swore that it would never happen again.

Well it did.

Compounding the distress was another rash all over my body that was not shingles. Two trips to the doctor never did give me an explanation of what it was. Probably more evidence of my body just telling me to rest and stop taking on things that I’m not able to handle any more, and to stop taking myself so seriously. A series of Prednisone and cortisone cream helped to finally get things under control after several days.

This latest illness is a warning but also a signpost for me to take stock of my life and what’s left of it.

So when people ask me if Dave and I are enjoying our ‘vacation’ in South Carolina, I have to qualify that it is not a ‘vacation’. We are living in SC for three months. And then I have to say that I have been sick once again, kicking myself in the a$$ once again for letting it happen. I am finally learning that I have to pull back and say ‘no’ to things that drag me down, stress me and make me sick.



8 thoughts on “The Deadly Stress

  1. Poetry by Livinia Ren

    Shingles is awful, it is also painful, but does fade. I enjoyed reading your post. I am a writer and poet and love finding situations where human nature breaks through the stress and fights.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you’re feeling better soon, Christine.


  3. Christine,
    What you say is so true. As mothers we can’t say no to our children and want to be super moms. Christmas is always a hectic time because we want everything to be perfect. I have three little grandchildren and one on the way and I love spending time with them. I hosted Christmas at my home this year and my daughter, Catherine suggested that I have it catered. Great idea. Less mess, more enjoyment and I got to go outside and take the little ones sledding. Everyone wins in a situation like this and there is no resentment. The host always has the most work to do , even if everyone brings food. The young people of today-know how to relax and enjoy life more. I am over 70 and don’t have the energy to entertain 30 people in my home like,I used to. We need to learn how to entertain more simply. Special occasions are more about being with the people you love. The food is secondary. From now on, I will be catering. Life is short. Enjoy the chocolate, drink the wine, take that trip. Build happy memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thanks Isabelle! You know, if I had everyone just for one meal and a few gifts it would be easy. We are discussing now how it could be made much easier on me in the future. Time for the children to take on more responsibility for making it happen!! It will be nice to take a back seat 🙂


  4. Dear Christine…Like you, I spent XMass time around here, doing things I did’nt really feel like doing, but felt that I had to.. Driving all the way from Piedmont to Two Mountains XMass Eve, in a snow storm, roads blocked with heavy trafic…Samething XMass day, drove all the way to Laval for another family diner in the same conditions, and to top it off, a brunch in Pointe-Calumet that I felt that I could not cancel….or else…..Then got cought in trafic again coming back home (boxing day)….Pfffft
    Then, my sister came over but had NO XMass spirit….
    So I said to François…and to my boss….Next year, forget about us, we will be down South somewhere for both XMass and New Year,
    So I understand how come you got so tired, so did I. Let’s travel while we are healthy and just enjoy life!
    Walt Disney said: “Wash your Windows while they are clean”…!
    I’m breaking up with stress also…
    Hang in there my friend xxx Love ya

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Francine, that sounds awful- we do it to ourselves because we are afraid of what everyone else will think; we think they will be angry with us…but the one we hurt in the end is ourselves. Next year Dave and I will leave for the South mid December. Yep, Walt Disney had it right. love u2 XO


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