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An Ordinary Life


Lali Papashvili, 58.


I live an ordinary life.


After getting married, my daily life has changed radically. My workload increased dramatically. To support my family, I did everything without shame and embarrassment. I have had prestigious jobs and I have had jobs that are considered disreputable.


When my son, Giorgi, was diagnosed with Friedreich's ataxia (a rare, inherited, degenerative disease. It damages the spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and the cerebellum portion of the brain) at the age of 15, my life has been turned upside down. It was in 2010.


He was healthy, mentally and physically. In the age of 15, he started to experience coordination problems. Since then he needs personal assistance to move around. We went to Istanbul. We were told that he needs regular therapy to prevent illness from progression. We help him do exercises at home, but it’s not enough. Ken Walker clinic in Tbilisi provides this therapy, however, we can’t afford it. There are no healthcare programs provided by the government for this kind of illness.  


I hope in God.


I’m always on the war field, never getting a sense of any kind of success. I think without protege one can’t get help in Georgia. Mayor of our province was a type of individual who helped and supported everyone in any way he could. Sadly, he’s not an authority anymore and we’re left alone. I lost hope to see my son healed and healthy again. For now, my wages can only afford medicine. My son needs me 24/7 and I have limited time for work.  


I know myself. Hard work is my innate quality. I’m generous and unselfish. If I choose to respect an individual, I do it with love.


Recently my nervous system weakened and I get easily irritated. However, I manage to calm myself down. I guess this is strength.


Oftentimes, I seek for solitude, but I don't have the luxury of being so. When my husband and my sons go to bed, I stay alone with myself and the universe. Then I feel a great fulfillment, to just be.


I don't like internet and social media. It makes no sense to me to spend so much time on texting and commenting. It’s not real. Some people get dressed and cook delicious food only to impress others with the photos. Maybe they even travel the world with the same intension.


I can recall one evening, it was 8pm. My son went to bed early than usual and I was free to do whatever. I thought I could look through the social media for a few minutes. When I put the phone down, it was 1am already. I was chocked to realize how much time it took away from me. I decided to value my time more and never ever spend it on looking at other people’s impressive sharing. Internet is great when one uses it wisely, however, wasting so much time on social media makes no sense to me.  


I worked at the hospitals and I worked at the kiosks, when I had no choice. I had to provide my children with everything they needed, from clothes to education.


When Giorgi opens his eyes, I have to stand next to him. When friends visit, only then I can take care of other duties. I stand next to him when he exercises. My body and mind is constantly in tension: what if he falls down now, what if he can't breath well… In the last few years his conditions worsened, especially, heart health and the nervous system. He is a normal capable individual and when he can't self-realize, he’s in worries and sorrows. He’s stressed. He worries about my health too, he’s scared that one day he might be left without me. He doesn't suffer physically but this illness makes him vulnerable.

I invited a psychologist twice and it had a positive impact on my son’s wellbeing. Sadly, we can’t afford to continue the sessions. 


I guess God wanted me to live this kind of life. I guess this was my way. Complaining won't change anything and I never do so. One must work hard, fight hard, and just be. Accept what’s given in life. I will work without hesitation to improve the quality of my family life, however, I will accept that what is and I will be satisfied.


My childhood was magical and careless. I was good looking, had wonderful friends and family. My siblings were 10 years older than me. They would take care of my education and entertainment.  


I was an excellent student at school. I worked at the museum after school. I got married at the age of 20 and I didn't pursue the higher education, which was a tragedy for my parents.

Happiness was before 20. Marriage has become more of a burden for me. Even though I didn't have children for the first 7 years, my natural conscientiousness lead to taking more and more responsibilities in the family. Even though, my husband’s parents were rich by then, I still worked hard to earn for living. It was same in my childhood. When my mother would go to work, I would cook and clean up the house. And when my father would come back from work, I would have my lessons prepared.


I don’t sleep unless I get things done. I don't think it’s something to be proud of. I don’t respect myself enough. One must go to bed today and wake up tomorrow. I go to bed today and I wake up today.


A woman is capable of doing many things: she can do the house work, do the makeup, have coffee with friends and cook meals. But I do more than I should, when I can’t ignore dust on the table each morning, it’s a disaster.


Ignore little things and you’ll always be happy.


90% of my life is taken by motherhood. In fact, I don't live my own life.


I loved making beautiful things using my hands and creating my own world.


After you become a mother, your life ends and you follow your children’s paths. At least, I’m happy for bringing up good humans. My other son too, he’s a wonderful individual.


I can find joy in small things. I think this is a women’a nature.


When Giorgi’s heart is feeling well and he breathes well, when our day is more or less peaceful, it’s enough for me to be grateful. My happiness never depended on money.


I don’t understand why being a mother is considered problematic if your child has no health issues?! Why would I need somebody’s help to bring up the kids?! One can work and be a mother. There are kindergartens and schools and there are all conditions provided for mothers to leave children. I think that people create problems, not motherhood itself.


A woman can solve any problem.


I have a tidy house, a plot of land, a job, and I take care of Giorgi. If my son didn't need physical support, I can only imagine how much time I would have left for other things.


Many people don't want to do a thing. They forget that we all came here as ordinary mortals. You have to do everything when you or your family needs it.


We have a total of 4 million population in this country. Why is it difficult for the government to distinguish labor force from people who are not capable of working? As a healthy and capable citizen, I can take care of myself. But there should be some kind of help for people like Giorgi. How can such people survive without support?!


Back in 2012, a bill was submitted for the review at the Parliament of Georgia. A pension fund should have been established for mothers who couldn’t work because their children’s health conditions required their assistance 24/7. They approved a bill that supported mothers who’s children fought in the war. Mothers with children with illnesses were put aside.


Giorgi must be provided with vitamins, healthy diet, and regular physical therapy.


We, the mothers, who suffer from the condition of our children, do not have financial stability and cannot get a full-time job because children require constant care, need support system from the government. Occasional and irregular help can’t solve the problems we face daily.


Middle class doesn’t exist in Georgia anymore. The rich provide everything for their children, while the poor - have nothing to offer.


Since I was a child, I especially sympathized with people in need. I had an orphan classmate. I was worried about her throughout my childhood. When my mother made a special dinner, I couldn't swallow it deliciously, thinking about Irina, whether she had food or not. When my parents bought me new clothes, I would run and give her all my old clothes. Sometimes I even lied that the new clothes don’t fit to be able to bring it to her again.


People should learn again that we need to support each other, especially, the ones, who are in need.


I worry about two things: my son’s health and people being changed.

From what I’ve been through, it is especially clear what humans have become. I experienced it first-hand. I see that people are angry. You rarely meet people who are selfless and supportive. I lost trust in them and it worries me. Relationships are no longer the same.


Once we had a psychologist at our place. She praised me for my personal traits and said that I could have become a good psychologist myself. She calmed me down with these wards: “nothing is permanent, this is the law of nature, if you cry today, you will laugh tomorrow.”


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