Tag Archives: cancer

weeding IS theraputic…….


I am a ‘can I go out to play’ sort of  gardener and also a very sweaty one and all together look like someone you would not like to met ANYWHERE at ANYTIME!  Because once the flies get going I also swear liberally and with gusto – but that is not the only therapy.  For when all the sweat and swearing has finished and you have a shower and scrub your filthy feet then make a nice cup of tea and your face has lost its drunken flush you wander out to see what was achieved.  A patch of nice clear rich brown soil planted with three lilies saved from imminent destruction in B  & Q.  I hope they will be part of a red/yellow/orange section of the border.  But the most theraputic part of this bit of gardening was digging and tearing out a plant I thought was rather pretty and has turned out to be an invasive, treacherous wicked fiend who tramples over all around and about and wipes them out.  But no more I now have its number and from now on it will NOT be allowed to wander far.    In truth I have gone right of the damn thing and will eventually get rid of any bits lurking anywhere!  So beware.

Yep, that little bit of brown soil is all I'm going on about!

Yep, that little bit of brown soil is all I’m going on about!

I’m not sure whether to write this next bit but its part of how it is.  As I ripped and dug and pulled out the roots of this plant, I thought of cancer.  My husband died of cancer and I miss that man almost unbearably at times  I sometimes wonder how I go on breathing but I do and will until my time comes.  So I garden with joy and sorrow for both of us.  He was a painter and I know his easel would have been outside all this wonderful summer and with great energy, skill and colour he would have been totally engaged in catching the vibrant days this sizzling summer has produced (and done a quick cartoon of his glamourous wife busy digging, sweating and swearing ) and both of us thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

If you are lucky enough to have a life you should live it as full and as honestly as you can – that is what I have to repeat to myself daily and I can hear Colin in my head and feel him in my heart just steadily willing me onwards and upwards.

What is your therapy for those hard days or do you just grit your teeth and hope the morrow will dawn with a brighter light.

Just a thank you.


on Sunday Jacqui turned up.  Its always a joy to see her face AND she had bought me two delicious pieces of  jewellery  which I love.

This young woman came into my life sometime in November 2006.  My husband was having radio therapy after being diagnosed with cancer in the spring and after some very severe chemotherapy which hadn’t cleaned out the tumor.  This whole period had left us both drained, in total shock and completely lost like thousands of others who have been through the experience or are now just starting the journey that is hell on earth.   Through one of those throw away remarks I’d been put in touch with an advisor who dealt with benefits.  I really had no idea what it was all about but nothing really mattered very much except my darling husband and me being strong and trying to cope with everything.  The new language that accompanies serious illness is frightening and most of the time you really don’t know what people are talking about.  ‘Well, just question’, I hear you say.  But what questions?  All you hear is cancer and its a rare one and its in his brain.  Where do you start?  You just trust the experts know the language and will do their best.  But for them its routine. For the punters however its like being shoved inside a tumble drier and thrown round and round never really understanding anything that relates to the life they understand. That is their previous life.

So here we are Colin and I clinging to each other after months of treatment.  Grateful that we could still be together.  And in comes Jacqui.

Jacqui was part of the Macmillan Benefit team or something like that.  She was neat quite small with short flicky hair and a real smiley face.  A funky dresser.  I liked her style.  I recognized or felt a breath of fresh air.  But she was carrying a huge brief case  so she was official.

From that initial meeting which was memorable because I understood the questions and she seemed quite satisfied with the answers we slowly became friends.  Everything she said she would do, with no fuss and no bother to us.  I could actually talk to her about what was happening to Colin and my role in this drama.  The word carer was now applied to me and Jacqui helped me understand what that really meant.  All day everyday forever into the unknown future.  Jacqui was always there either on the end of a demented ‘e’ mail from me or a delightful visit from her.

By March 2007 our hospital visits had finished and a new dilemma loomed.  Our business was failing seriously and bankruptcy was facing us.  I was overwhelmed with paperwork, with caring for Colin and a very frightening future.  And here is where Jacqui for all her neat frame, stood very tall and strong  and just calmly held my hand and said ‘You can do it, there is a way through”.

And she was absolutely right we hung in their and by January 2008 we had cleared the debts, sold the business and kept our home.  The part Jacqui played in all this was monumental.  When I was struggling she would come over and we’d go over the problems and find a solution,  She would take on certain difficult areas so we never got clogged up.  All the time being thoughtful, sensitive and kind and every now and then we even found time to laugh.   Jacqui was/is always smiley but never sentimental, always positive but never strident, always thoughtful but never judgmental, always caring but never controlling.

Last year February 23 2012 my beloved Colin died.  He was at home and my son and I had be able to care for him ourselves which was exhausting but incredibly rewarding.  Through all the years between 2008 and his death Jacqui was a very welcome visitor, helping me keep an open mind on life and its vagaries.  I would have lost my way so many, many times without knowing Jacqui was there to gently nudge me onwards.

And now it is Just Me floundering around in my little world.  But Colin left me very upright, full of his love and strength.  My walls are covered in his fabulous artwork and there is much for me to achieve through the inspiration of his work.  So I am lucky.  AND I have come to know and care deeply for Jacqui who has so many qualities and abilities that she shared so generously with Colin and I.  I know we are not the only ones touched by her caring work but I feel very grateful  that I can now count her as a real friend.

Jacqui picked me up and dusted me down so many times I now know what that big brief case really held – her instinct, her heart ,her humour plus a lot of intelligence  used positively.  She is person to cherish and I do.