Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving

So there I am last Monday morning, ready to stand up and bravely announce to the pesky JJs that I’m taking a summer break (and may possibly not come back afterwards).  Just as I’m about to do so, one of the more annoying customers makes a heartfelt announcement of her own: she wants me to know that she loves the JJs coffee klatches, that she loves me, and that she looks forward to Monday mornings all week long, because it’s the only day of the week that she can laugh and smile and forget her woes, in good company and with good food.   Then she sits and beams lovingly at me, while all the other customers chime in with “we love JJs” tales of their own.

This 60-year-old woman is presently very busy caring for a husband who is suffering from stomach cancer.  She also cares full-time for a stubborn and bedridden mother-in-law who refuses to move into a nursing home and will only grudgingly accept nursing care for one morning a week (the JJs day, as it happens).  And she herself is still in the throes of grieving for a small grandchild who died last year, whilst providing rock-like support to her son and daughter-in-law.  On top of that she runs a side business selling organic cotton clothing, to bring in some extra money.  And she also coaches local high school students through their English exams, teaching them in her living room every evening.

Now, I don’t like her very much, because she behaves like such a loudmouth and hardly lets anyone else speak (perhaps she doesn’t get a chance to do it anywhere else?), but I can’t deny that she’s earned her dues as a woman.  I have to respect her for that.

And bam!  There goes my summer break.  I’ve cancelled it.  Sigh.  Oh well, winter’s not long off!

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4 comments on “Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving

  1. Karen says:

    They couldn’t meet on their own while you take a break? You really need to get away from them for a while. It’s sad about her situation, but it’s not your fault. So, don’t let it hold you hostage.

  2. Miko says:

    OK. I’m taking two weeks off (down from a month). A few students/customers were really not happy about it, but I stuck to my guns. I’m not going to go anywhere this summer, just potter around at home and think about what I really want to be doing from now on.

  3. Karen says:

    Good for you. They’ll survive for two weeks.

  4. Petra says:

    Two weeks is a good start. Not too long to get bored, but long enough to give you time for pondering over where to go from here.

    Good for you, Miko. A very wise decision.

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