Writing is hard, life is harder…

It has only been the last 2 years that I have been really working at my writing. I have always had an affinity for it but it was always put on the back burner because guess what? I had to actually earn a living so that meant no spare time at all,  any extra time was spent seeing friends and family which are important and oh yeah ping ponging between a bad boyfriend and freedom and traveling. Any down time was seized by years of ME. The chronic fatigue would frequently hit me and lay me down.

Traveling to temperate climates always gave me a respite and I spent a year in Corsica and Australia during my ‘Wilderness Years’. By then, I had learnt to cope a bit better, by pacing myself. Frustration isn’t a strong enough word when you are plagued with this illness. So, I would frequently overdo it and that led to depression. 10 years on, I cope well. I am in a different place. I am settled which has grounded me enough to deal with all the loss and illness I have been knee deep in; firstly myself with an ear tumour leading to surgery and hearing loss, then my younger sister with thyroid cancer, then death of my father- in- law and my mother- in- law’s emotional fall out, then my mum with breast cancer, then my dad passed away with a brain tumour, that was the worst.  I have written the following continous prose in light of this and my state of mind as when you are told something like the above , what you lose first is your sense of control and utter hopelessness,redgate photos 006 this then clears as you adjust and adapt to life changing events. I tend to go into my garden and cut things down –

A Good Year for the Roses

When I find out that someone I know has been told they have cancer or died from cancer my first reaction is to go outside in the air and cut things down one time it was a hedge a common one such as you would find in any common garden the type that is used to separate neighbours from neighbours God forbid we would actually want to talk to our neighbours when they told me my sister had it that was the common hedge the other time it was a Buddleia commonly known as the butterfly bush when my Mother had it that bush was dying a bit anyway so it was not much use we had the visiting common butterflies they say they are in decline but in my common little garden we have quite a few and they do love that bush when my Father had it that was bad so I got my shears the rusty ones but I put WD40 on them that helped and they squeaked back into life and I hacked down the roses I thought they were dead however the following year they grew even more and I said to people it was a good year for the roses and all I could think of was that I hacked them down and they must have liked that when I found out I had a tumour but it was destructive but benign I went and got the strimmer and tidied up edges of things in my common little garden and put new fish in my tiny deep pond I had lost two before Rapunzel and Jam as the pond filled quickly with green algae that summer when it got really hot one day those two even survived their first mates Pascal and Jelly funny that the new fish are called Jerry and Dave I don’t know why I have never even met either of these people with those names when you know someone that is going through losing someone to cancer you know and when they die you can go and hack things down.
Today it was the large conifer and the ivy that was attached to it.

I pulled it all off.
Cancer, Grief, LIFE LESSONS, Love, Uncategorized

Anthem for the never forgotten

So, sometimes you find yourself, as the years tick by – attending another funeral. By using the word ‘another’ I don’t want to belittle it but draw attention to it. Another person has passed on; unnecessarily. Too young and it’s cancer that is the culprit. For the last five years my life has been interlocked with this thing; Mum, Sister, Dad who did not survive and three of my best friends parents with only two surviving.

What are the odds? spin the wheel, I mutter to myself. Any many many more as readers you can testify. The cancerous journey is torture, your insides freeze as you are given the diagnosis concerning a loved one. How must it be for them? you are not sure what is the right thing to do. Do you discuss it, do you skirt round the hem and sort of discuss it? there is no rule book to chuck on the fire. All you can do is be there for them and talk about mundane things as I have tried to talk about in my poem ‘stay with me’.

Cancer, Grief, LIFE LESSONS, Poetry

Stay With Me

Stay With Me

Will you sit by my side
While I die ?
Will you brush my hair
And teeth
And sit by my side
While I die ?
I won’t be a nuisance
I won’t scream
In pain or moan
Or chew my food like a new born babe.
I promise not to dribble or wet the bed,
I will wear a catheter instead.
Promise me that you will sit by my side while I
I won’t give two hoots about dirty boots coming into
My house or if the hoovering gets missed or if you skip your five a day.
Just say you will stay by my side,
While I die.
I will listen when you talk and look at you when you speak,
Just please stay at my side.
I won’t make a fuss when they turn me this way and that and have the
Indignity of being stripped bare
I will leak and make mess.
But please, please stay by my side.
Tell me about food prices and litter on streets, how parking charges go up and what you ate for a treat.
I promise I won’t google what’s wrong with me,or stare at you longingly
If you tell me you will stay with me until

I die.

Cancer, Grief, LIFE LESSONS

Life is ridiculously short

This morning one of my best friends mum died she was 63 and was diagnosed 6 weeks ago. It was cancer, everywhere. Last year my dad died it was a brain tumour he fought for 6 months. Those months were a living hell and I won’t sugarcoat it. For him and us; he lost all his dignity he was almost blind before it and the cancer robbed him entirely. He lost use of his legs and had to be bed bathed and pads changed near the end. He would cry out in distress in the night. What could we do ? Just be with him, tell him mundane things, anything to distract from the approaching conclusion. Life was a constant round of well meaning visitors and carers four times a day. It was rare to get a moment alone. But, somehow I did. We had 30 minutes while I visited him in hospital he was being sick and had cellulitis as a complication. I just sat with him and talked nonsense. He did not respond just some murmuring and I stroked his hand. It was peaceful. There was no crying or revelations just the two of us. This once big man was the man who taught me how to ride a bike, who carried me to bed when I fell asleep on the sofa, who listened when I said I had written a new story no one else did those things. As I write this my head hurts as dollops of tears fall, time doesn’t lessen the pain as you pause in your day time madness and you remember they just aren’t there anymore, just an ache and memories that never fade.