Well where do I start since my last blog I don’t really know for sure so here goes.
I have a lot of feelings some I expected and some I really never saw coming. A lot can be summed up by what I’ve just watched on television and social media in the last hour before writing this.
There is an entire BBC program section that has devoted itself to how much our chocolate has shrunk for example how many Maltesers less we now get in a packet and in turn customers are voicing their “shock” at this but are admitting they wont stop buying them…A cutting edge piece of journalism (not) whilst on the other hand I have the thousand yard stares of blood splattered children of Aleppo that are of similar ages to my own popping up on social media that effect me so deeply I want to fly over there and take them in my arms with immediate effect.
In an attempt to escape from this I close off my phone and switch off the television. Sat here with the kids safely tucked up in bed and alone this is when reality hits me like a smack in the face. the reality of how much Cancer has taken away from us and that is now the hardest of elements to deal with for me. Of all the things that Cancer has taken away it has taken that ability to banish the moments of sheer sadness, it has taken away life as we knew it, it has shaped our lives for the future, it has taken away a mother and a father from in total six children and in the wake of that has also for the moment taken away the relationships we once had with either of our in-laws. It has led people to carry out the most hurtful deeds and actions in the pretence they thought they knew best or “what Sean and Joanna would have wanted” when in the most cases they had no idea. I find this really difficult to Just switch off from so back on with the telly or the social media it is mostly.
Both myself and Shirley experience these moments and events and as you would expect it is worse at times of the year likes this.
Christmas and all it stands for has a way of polarising those feelings for those who have lost loved ones in no other way. You will know what I mean if you have experienced such losses and been in a similar position to me and Shirley for sure but to outline it as best I can for those who haven’t; every now and again you are just stopped in your tracks with a plethora of emotions and they can differ but are usually borne out of a simple reminder, significant dates, something one of the girls says or feels, frustration that you have no answer for them, life battles you just don’t need right now or just simple lack of energy and tiredness. The feelings show themselves in a variety of ways depending on how hard you are hit at any particular moment.
I have burst into tears at things ranging from consoling my grieving girls to picking out a hair bobble for one of them and realising that Jo was still alive when they last wore it. I have also had lovely moments that melt my heart with a warmth I just can’t describe like, the 100 miles my daughter rode, the amount of times Isla has been star of the day in her first years at school, visiting High Dam with my girls (the place of mine and Joanna’s engagement), engaging with Emma’s grief and helping her out with shopping (we love a good shop) together, the family holiday in Majorca and sharing with Beth memories, videos and photos of her dad Sean and what a serious fighter and of course cyclist he was. Some of the key moments for us is the way in which we have come together as a unit and we just have a deep understanding of each other and that then manifests itself in the support we all give each other.
All the girls continue to thrive and make us proud and give us reason to just exist. Our lives have now developed into one of enjoying every moment we have outside of the unavoidable necessary daily routines that are thrust upon us by work, my projects, school, meals, laundry etc etc.
The year has gone immensely quickly and that reminds me how short life is and how one must seize the moment but as the friend who inspired me to write blogs in the first place; Tony Pearson outlined in his latest blog… that is easier said than done. Life again is now gradually taking back over from a year of dealing with grief and all it throws at you. There are many good thing that have come from this experience so far such as the immense charity work we have all done this year and the inspiration that has bled to others of all ages and backgrounds from that, the beautiful relationship and love that can come from two grieving families coming together, the support from friends and family that are at times just sublime and above all the strength that me and Shirley have together.
Have an amazing Christmas and a Happy New Year all of you and enjoy every second of your family around you in the best way you can. I for one will not stop eating Maltesers and I know i am too small a cog in society to have even the slightest affect on Aleppo but I am resolved in 2017 to devote every spare moment I have to Charity and this battle we have still to wage against Cancer.
P.S I am not doing Christmas cards this year but you will find the equivalent dosh has been deposited at my local Cancer research shop… hope you approve.