I fight on ..

“Takes the wind out of your sails”, “knocks you flat”, “that sinking feeling” these and so many many more platitudes we have all heard over the years. They are however just words, they do not begin to describe the feelings, emotions, mad thoughts, fears that blast through your mind when the one you love most in all the world is diagnosed with cancer. At a time like that it is just a load of old bollocks.
Jacky and I have been married for almost 20 years (20 come this November) and in all that time we have not spent 24 hours apart except for a spat of business trips a few years ago. We met in September and married in November. We are best friends, biggest fans, two souls and one unifying love. We have never fought or argued, have the same interests. When we moved in together we both had libraries containing the same books, two of everything.
Last week after what seemed a routine blood test our family doctor called us (Sunday morning) and told us to get down to the hospital for further tests. Early on Monday a team of doctors and hangers on came in to deliver the news, my wife, Jacky, my soul mate had Leukemia. In one 10 minute conversation everything in our world had changed, there are no words that can describe what ricocheted round inside my head in those few minutes, no way to convey the cascade of feelings, fears, emotions.
I know Jacky is getting the very best treatment, the doctors are excellent, the prognosis good (seems it was caught early). I am holding it together, keeping her spirits up and providing the strength my son Matthew also needs to get through this. Everybody is sending out good wishes and good energy to buoy us up in these trying times.
However in the dark quiet of the night when Matthew has gone to bed, the doggies are sleeping and I am alone then is the hardest time. With my Jacky miles away in a hospital bed, the house has a different feel, it’s lost something vital, the energy and the spirit of my soul mate. It is then in the deep dark recesses of my mind that the doubts hide, fighting to get out, to overwhelm me. It’s then that I must be strongest, to fight hardest. It is then that the night seems darkest. It may not seem rational, since I and everyone else knows, tells me everyday that she is in the best place, getting the best care. I just can’t drive the doubts away, it’s not easy to explain and I don’t anyone can really understand until they walk that horrible path. On the day my Jacky comes home with me I’ll know we won through, we beat it and our world is secure again. Until then I fight on. Every night.

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first star to the right and on till morning …

So my family and I (My wife Jacky, my son Matthew and myself) have decided to up sticks and leave the rat race, commuting 100Km to work, winters, concrete cities, noise, smog and the crazy pace of city life behind and move to the country side of Southern France. For 10 months or so at least in any case. Then we’ll see what is next, maybe stay there, maybe move on. Are we nuts you say? No I don’t think so, time marches on, we all get older, we all talk about doing it but few of us actually do it.

Life is a great adventure, it should be lived, full and vibrant every day. It is far too easy to be stuck in a rut of day to day survival, working 9 to 5 to pay the bills, pay for the commute to work. Both my wife and I are very interested in history, art, classical music so what better place tgo experience ity than from France. Being in France most everywhere we would dearly love to visit is accessible within a day or two of driving, less by train and some by walking out the front door. From Canada, visiting the Louvre or the Artists Quarter in Paris, or Notre Dame (or any of a thousand other places) would be an expensive airpline trip and a weeks vacation away. So we made the decision, “let’s do it!” and “let’s do it now!”.

So now we are preparing for the move and what a job that is! Decided to keep our house  and rent it so we have some minimal fallback should it all go pear shaped (don’t expect that it will though as we’re both of a spirit to make it work). Then discovered that we really should spruce up the kitchen with a lick of paint … but wait that made the counters look dull so we’ll spruce them up … ah but now the trim in the front room looks a little tired, better paint it up as well .. and so it goes. Then we decided to sell up the detritus, flotsam and jetsam we didn’t want to take with us, didn’t want to store and didn’t want to leave. Wowsa! What pack rats we are! Four billion books, two billion nick-knacks, 750 assorted appliances, some classic vinyls records, ancient calculators, old lamps, 17000 bits of old clothing (some fits, some doesn’t), enough shoes and sneaks to keep Immelda Marcos happy, prints, pictures and so much more. Can all this stuff possibly come out of our one house? Not to mention that now we have moved all this stuff from it’s original spot to the living room, the place now looks like several bombs went off! Well it all has to go somewhere by the end of the month (August) because  on September the fifth we’ll be on an airliner headed for France. Winging our way to sunshine, a slower easier pace of life and trying madly to master enough french so as to not embarrass ourselves when we land. Watch this space, I’ll post more as the month progresses, it’s sure to be fun and funny.