Not simply having visited.....

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

~ Mary Oliver ~

If I ever write my story it will be called the woman who cried! Am I so unusual I wonder? Dont men cry? But it does seem the admission of shedding tears is still something worthy of comment.The Herald did a lovely article about my departure from Breakthrough and it was called "Crying out for attention".Not me you understand but my take home message was breast cancer is not sorted and the importance of not taking the foot of the pedal....and also the reference to having shed tears in a very public setting.

Now I will a spare you a description of my tearful goodbyes. Yes I have shed tears but I have survived and mostly the tears followed kind words as well as my sadness as I said my goodbyes. There are so many people I will miss and hopefully many who will stay in my life too. But I do have a sense from  all the warm words that I have made a difference in Breakthrough and I am truly grateful to have had that opportunity.I know too I have left it in good hands.  But I'm cheering and supporting from the sidelines now.....

Life is always unpredictable. I told you of saying goodbye to my Mum and that was complicated by a fall and stay in hospital for her, before she set off. It was with a heavy heavy heart I said my goodbye, at least until my next visit. But she hadn't been in hospital since I was born until very recently (yes I know that's surely was not yesterday!). That's a pretty good record which we are all grateful for.

So when I heard more sad news this week, it immediately put all of my goodbyes into perspective. A colleague who had worked with us in The Alliance had died in his sleep after a relatively short but devastating illness. He and I sat together at dinner around 18 months ago and we discussed my recurrent cancer and my blog. I recall he spoke of my courage in expressing my journey. He also spoke of his pride in his daughter recently having graduated from  the nursing degree I had done so many years previously. A loving Dad, a loving husband, a great advocate for people with heart disease and many other long term conditions, who had not told me( or many others at that time) of his own diagnosis, with motor neurone disease. The condition took its toll quickly but he continued to work, to do what he loved best with enormous courage and determination. The organisation worked hard to enable him to stay at work and absolutely I commend them for that.

I am glad his passing was peaceful, it could have been so different. My thoughts are with his much loved family and his colleagues who stood by him in his time of need. He was a gentleman in all senses of the word, who cared for and about others. I am so sorry his life was shortened this way. I know he made difference through his work and at some level I hope this helps those who grieve. So I dedicate this blog ,and the poem I started with to Andy, so glad to have known you. He didn't just visit this world, he made it better. Rest in peace.

Reasons to be grateful:
I have had such love and encouragement this week. I probably have recognised properly the role the cancer has played in my decision too but I have choices and I am well now. I am so excited about starting in my new role as a coach and consultant and the difference I hope to continue to make ; supporting people and organisations to be all they can be.  Thanks to my colleagues in Breakthrough for making me laugh and cry this week. Looking forward to next weeks fun night out......will try to sneak a photo! Thanks to all of you who have sent your good wishes too. Keep in touch!And thanks to to the warm welcome from the great folk at Oasis.
.........and finally I went to the Filmhouse in Edinburgh to see the last two episodes of Borgen. Following a fantastic couple of episodes which engaged all emotions from outrage to grief, we then experienced an interview with the actress who plays Birgitte, resplendent in a tartan suit.Bit of a girl crush lets be honest.....!


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