Telling his son, about the cancer, was the worst.
It was heartbreaking to see a 40 something man cry. He got so upset. He kept hugging his father and telling him he loved him. Eventually I crept out of the room to give them some privacy.
His daughters took the news well, better than I expected and of course my children had known from the beginning. I think it was a relief for them to know that the cancer had not appeared to have spread.
This weekend Michaels seven year old grandson was celebrating his first communion. He was really miffed to have to wear a red tie, the colour of Manchester United, when he is a ( blue) Manchester city fan. The tie was off before he got out of the church door! But the little girls! oh my word, all dressed up like little brides complete with veils and tiara.
I must explain that I am not a Catholic and I my spiritual beliefs are very different from organised religion. ( each to their own, I have great respect for anybody with a faith) but the service hymns and prayers had an added poignancy for us all. Throughout, Michael kept grabbing my hand and I knew that it was meaningful for him too.
The old priest, known as Father Paddy, is a bit special, a bit of a rebel against the expected stereotype. He can be seen regularly at the race s and drinks with the local ner-do-wells. He is also very very funny.
He married Michaels daughter and baptised their children and I have never been to a wedding where we laughed so much in the ceremony.. The church is always packed because his message is so down to earth and realistic. . No fire and brimstone here.
He said, “ignore all that crowd in Rome, all that religion,…….. all that matters is loving each other, be kind to people and do your best”
They should have made him the new Pope!
Later when we pulled up outside his daughters house, Michael turned to me and said.. “If everything goes wrong, I have had the best 25 years of my life, with you” …. This is the first bit of fear or doubt he has shown and , I tell you I could have sobbed right there in the street.
You never know how you will react when you, or somebody you love, are told they have cancer, or any other life threatening condition.
I din’t really know what I expected. Crying and wringing of hands, sleepless nights perhaps , but strangely, me, the eternal pessimist, has been surprisingly optimistic.
For the past week I have just carried on and slept like a baby. Michael, who usually worries quietly, has talked frankly, but now just wants to get on with things. He has been unusually calm and done his usual ten hours a night sleep.
Without even being concious of it my perspective has shifted. I am acutely aware of sights, sounds and feelings. As though I really have woken up and smelt the coffee. Without being aware of it.
what will be , will be.
Michael and I hug each other more and, without effort, we no longer find the usual irritations, irritating.
We are not particularly thinking or talking about what is to come, just really really making the most of each moment and time is going slowly.
When we do discuss it, there is more a practical aspect to it, because at the moment we are on standby and can’t really make any plans.
The things people say ” take it one day at a time” and stay positive” seem to come without effort. No fight,…….. a bit like a calm surrender.
I am afraid of course, very afraid and I suspect that it will be a long job, which I dread. I am more afraid of the implications of the myelodysplasia than the cancer. How can a man who is already immunosuppressed fight the infections that may come his way during this procedure?
and I am also , selfishly VERY miffed that I should be in California by now and instead I have to go to work! LOL!
But I have a lot of faith in the team of people we have got. Leave it in their hands. Contrary to what people often think, I think health professionals do strive to do their best to make people well……
and did I say this before? Thank goodness for the NHS.
Denise, what a beautiful moving piece of writing! I am always amazed at the inner strength shown by people in adversity. None of us know how we will react to tragic news that affects us and our families until it happens. I like to think that I would have the strength to show the courage of you and Michael. For an avowed non-believer I find it strange that more and more I have the thought “there but for the grace of god…”
On a different note your photo of Michael’s grandson’s first communion reminds me that the princess and I are popping over to Belfast in a few weeks for the first communion great niece no 2. We attended great niece no 1’s so now we have to attend this one as well. The priest is not nearly as much fun as Father Paddy unfortunately!
Thinking of both of you as ever, love Janet xx
Hi Janet. Hope you enjoy your trip to Belfast. Religion apart, it is quote moving to see all the children in this rite of passage on the threshold of life.
It s funny that we son’t feel we have any courage or strength. But I guess it comes from somewhere without us knowing.
Hi lovely… again your heart words from your soul are shining thru… you have a wonderful gift to be able to express yourself thru your writing.. something which I am still trying to achieve… kudos to you my lovely friend and hugs of love to both you and Michael. Keep sharing your wonderful words with us… I know I’ll keep reading you!
Thanks for your support Roniece. You express yourself through your poetry in the same way as I find an outlet in just writing it all down. It all helps me to tidy the thoughts in my head.
Hugs and prayers. You and Michael are in my thoughts. Please continue to allow yourself the opportunity to express what’s in your heart in this safe place…..Your friends and family are here for you, regardless of time or distance between us.
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers Nancy. Love Denise
Denise- please know that you and Michael are in our thoughts and prayers. It is a blessing that you have each other – and that you are such a support for him at this difficult time. May God watch him closely during the procedure, and give the surgeon inspiration. God bless you and your family.
Again Mimi, thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Love Denise
You keep finding the light in dark situations. Good for you.
Hi Joseph, I never thought of it that way. You are right. This is SO amazing for such a pessimist as me. Thanks for that. Love Denise.
My late Mother firmly believed that there was something good in everything and everyone: to me the something “good” that comes from Michael’s cancer is that it has brought the two of you closer to one another and realizing how much you love one another – a true blessing!
Hi Sandy….Joseph has just said that I find the light in dark situations and you have just pointed one out. I find that very comforting. Your mother was a very wise woman. Love Denise
Denise, I haven’t been on the blogs too much lately with my new job, so this is the first post I’ve seen. I’m so sorry to hear the sad news, and I impressed with your strength and courage. You will be in my thoughts xxx
Dear Gwan. I am pleased to hear your new job is keeping you busy. You deserve some success after the struggle you have had the past few months.
As I said earlier, the strength and courage surprisingly just comes from nowhere. I have been reading your blog (and otheres) for months while you lived through some difficult times, without compliant or self pity, so maybe my bogging friends are inspiration for me, without me realising.
Dear Denise, it’s janetnj from OPF. Your writing is so moving. Like the others, I’m impressed with your strength and courage. Please know that I’m keeping you and Michael in my thoughts and prayers.
Denise, your faith in each other and your love of one another shine through in every word. Whatever happens, the two of you are blessed to have each other and love each other in this way. It is a true gift to have this kind of relationship ~ I know both of you treasure the other and what better thing is there to have on this earth? Thank you for sharing with us in this difficult time. You have so many people who love you and are sending good thoughts and prayers your way.
Hi Jo, thanks for your kid words. We are indeed blessed to have each other and this anxious time has shown us that,
We now have a date for the surgery, which will be admission on Monday 13th May for some pre admission treatment. and surgery on 14th May. Since we got the date we suddenly are both much more relaxed and can plan our week. We are looking forward to a lovely Bank holiday weekend together.
I’m so pleased you have a date for Michael’s surgery. Now you can move on to preparing for that, and enjoy the lovely Bank holiday weekend weather together. Thinking positive thoughts for you both as ever, love Janet