Tag Archives: cancer

Enforced clarity

8 Apr

Even amongst all the shit it’s possible to have good days.  In fact, shit like Cancer focuses the mind. Never have I seen so much, and done so little (remember my post where I flirted briefly with beginner Buddhism?). Well now I’m living it.

My mother has always been a busy person. A talented and able person.  People would marvel at just what she could do, how much she could take on, and how well she would do it. To them she was a creative powerhouse. Of course to herself she’d never quite done enough. Sound familiar? Well my life was pretty much spent the same way. Running around in the pursuit of something, forever chasing my tail, with each obstacle taking on a seemingly insurmountable form.

Now of course my mum is still all of the things she was, but her illness has forced her to to slow down and take notice.  (Years of telling her it was her time, to sit back and be selfish, and it’ taken a terminal bloody illnesss to make her do it.) Cancer has stopped her in her tracks, and as shit as that is, as devastating and heart breaking, there is also something rather sweet. For the first time (ever?) she is taking a good look around her, drinking it all in, and what she is savouring is frequently surprising, and at times delicious.

Normal life has a habit of taking over, the meaningless usurping the meaningful in a cloud of impenetrable smog.  Perhaps it’s not so much that rays of light can still exist in an otherwise stormy sky, so much as it is the rain itself that makes the luminescent rainbow a possibility.

It really is a shame that it takes something so shit to enforce that kind of clarity. But rather that, than never to feel it at all.

bleeding words

4 Jan

Someone I knew over 15 years ago from school contacted me today out of the blue. She wanted to share with me a blog she had been writing about her husband’s battle with cancer. Sadly she had lost him in November, and felt instinctively that I would understand “what goes into a blog”.  I immediately read a few of her posts, and in truth was absolutely floored by the dignity, affection and pride that oozes from her writing. A rare moment when your heart begins to canter and  emotion rises in torrents from your stomach. You feel utterly compelled to do something, to mark that moment, to reach out.

I’ve talked before about writing,  how emotional and personal the process is. Somehow people get that visual art, or poetry comes from the soul, but when it comes to a blog – well surely that’s just something you write in your spare time to catalogue your days with the children? It frustrates me.  Through our writing we open ourselves up to judgement, criticism, derision in the hope that someone else will “get” what we are talking about.

I can only start to realise what significance words come to have when you are using them to chart something as important, life-altering, profound as the journey of a loved one through illness.

I came across the following quotation recently which said in a few words what I had been trying to say for a while.

“There’s nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”  (Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith)

To my friend, I aim to start at the beginning of your story and read until I’m up to date. I’m sure I will laugh and cry with you along the way.

And yes, I understand.

Addendum: My friend has come back to me to say she is happy for me to carry her blog here.
The Wrighty Way
Please lend her some support. She is hoping to raise awareness of kidney cancer.