Saturday, 1 December 2012

"You have to find joy where you can".

And so it begins, the beginning of the endings......and the hankies have been out. Although the week started with a Geordie style celebration of the amazing efforts of two men. Robbie Elliot and Phil Gray who had completed a 3,500 mile cycle ride in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Newcastle had come out in style and I even got to sit next to the legendary Jackie Charlton.Any football fans I mentioned this to since have been very excited. I managed to spend an evening talking about managing Ireland football team and fishing as well as defending my family from Sunderland! It's an eclectic skill set for this job, you see?

I did a short talk about why our work is so important. And I mentioned Angie who is much in my mind just now as the anniversary of her death approaches. The cold Edinburgh December evoking that sad day as we said our goodbye. And what I repeated was her reply to the question...are you scared of dying? "No nothing can scare me after living with this awful disease for so long".I wanted to let these two brave men know that their mammoth effort was for such an important reason and it would make such a difference. The Newcastle crowd were so generous.......but it was a tough gig for a Sunderland supporter!

The next day I set off to London and had a flood affected journey. Never quite sure if turning back would be the best option. But I did want to get there to attend my last board meeting with Breakthrough. Perhaps I didn't fully anticipate how emotional I would feel. I know I am making the right decision and I'm really excited about my future. And it was only when I read about a friend grieving for her Mum that I recognised the process I am going through. It's grieving and I need to give it space...not lock it away, tempting though that is.

Others have told me of their emotions leaving their jobs because of the impact of their cancer diagnosis and I recognise that's part of it for me. Perhaps I would have made this same decision without the cancer? But the fact is I didn't and so it's in the mix. But I also recognise how very very fortunate I am too , to have choices.

So many don't either through the extent of their illness or through circumstance. I have found myself thinking of my friend who had lived with breast cancer many years before she started to lose the fight.Her colleagues wanted to arrange a farewell lunch as she finally acknowledged she could not return to her much loved career. She was dying and she knew it. But she also knew she could not attend a farewell lunch and give a speech. She declined the well meant offer and I can only imagine her own loss having made that decision and its implications. These impacts aren't in the survival statistics, they are hidden away, but they are so very real.

It was the last of my 8 week mindfulness course this week. We spoke of acceptance and recognising the daily small achievements we make and honouring them, not always striving for more or feeling guilty about what we haven't done. Another tough gig for me! But I have loved it and know its sustained me through a difficult time. Hoping to sign up for more too.

Reasons to be cheerful!
Well the week ended on a high. Cara had a walk ( off the lead) on the beach at Cramond on a beautiful crisp winter day. Magical! And we went to see Karine Polwart. I have quoted her songs in an earlier blog. She was superb and I leave you with one of her haunting songs about grief....for all you who are grieving. In Karine's words.  " I can find joy in the sound of the rain. You have to find joy where you can." Hope you find joy this week.

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