‘She hath done what she could’

I started blogging in 2011.  Behind the protection of a pseudonym I wrote out the mess and glory of our stitched together family.  A lot has changed over four years, mostly as a result of shifts in my thinking around what success means in the context of family, and although I cringe when I read some of the earlier posts, I’m glad I have a record.

These days, writing with such personal honesty is more problematic. It’s not right to expose our family now that Sally Donovan is more than an online identity and so I stick to newsy stuff and my own clumsy efforts at self-care and tea leaf reading.

In the spirit of newsiness it’s been (another) emotionally epic week.  Adolescence is always tough going as neuro-biological changes layer over exam pressures which layer over multiple transitions.  On top of the adolescent mille-feuille is the central question, ‘who am I?’.  When early beginnings are shattered and a young person is raised by people with whom they share no birth bond, the answer to that question is born out of intense and sometimes over-whelming growing pains.

Supporting one’s nearest and dearest through all this has become about demonstrating solidity and dependability during crunch times, and maintaining connection when it’s possible and beneficial (which at times neither are). As always, I make bags of mistakes and try not to be too hard on myself, or those around me.


In the spirit of rather glorious self-care I spent a recent weekend in Cornwall with friends.  We talked and ate and drank and walked in the sunshine and found ourselves in an old coastal churchyard.  I love a churchyard, and I particularly like grave stones.  One, a simple affair for a ‘spinster’ simply gave her name and dates and the epitaph ‘she hath done what she could’.  I thought about how that is the most that any of us can ever do and how much more encouraging that message is  than those which demand we can achieve our wildest dreams, if only we try hard enough.

2 thoughts on “‘She hath done what she could’

  1. Anne

    It seems we are in a similar situation re adolescents. The “who am I?” Question is looming large in the one facing the overwhelming pressure of year 11. Along with “why don’t I have any friends like other people?” and “will I be a rubbish parent if I can’t even cope with school?” Overwhelmed, scared and confused all I can do is hug her and dry her tears. I have no answers.

  2. Veronica

    I love your comments on that gravestone. I suspect it resonates with a lot of us. If I was the tattoo type I think I’d have it inked on my arm. It might comfort me in the hard days…


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