‘Too many people think they’re immortal’ – so said the author Fay Weldon in a recent radio interview. How true! We all do it – take life for granted – worry about the future – fret about past mistakes – and we forget to be in the moment, to treasure the now.
A couple of anniversaries round about now, plus a couple of recent sad events, got me thinking.
It was in July 2001 that I travelled, with my husband, to Tasmania (from the UK) to visit my oldest and one of my dearest friends. Elspeth and I were friends since primary school and even after she and her husband and children emigrated to Australia we kept in touch. I’d already been out to visit in 1999.
But the 2001 visit was a bittersweet one. Elspeth was dying. The breast cancer she’d already beaten a couple of times was back and this time it was terminal. We had a lovely, happy time together – lots of laughs – but when we said good-bye at the airport we both knew it was for the last time. Elspeth died the following spring. She was 45 years old. I still miss her.
July is also the anniversary of my own diagnosis with ovarian cancer twelve years ago. I survived. I am incredibly fortunate to have done so – early diagnosis and first class treatment are the key factors in my still being here. Oh, yes it was a wake up call – to stop procrastinating and to stop worrying about all life’s imponderables. And, yes it was a life changing experience. Taking my writing seriously was one thing that arose directly out of the big-C episode – and it informed some of the plot of my novel. But I do still need reminding sometimes not to sweat the small stuff and to treasure what I’ve got now.
And the recent sad events? – Just this month another friend of mine died very suddenly, in her fifties, apparently well, looking forward to the birth of a grandchild and then from getting sick to passing away was only 48 hours – terribly, terribly sad. Then there was the friend of my son, 27 years old, father of two little girls – he also died very suddenly.
Life is so precious – so brief – and not a rehearsal – none of us is immortal. So tell those you love just what they mean to you, be kind to yourself and LIVE every blessed minute.
If you need cancer help or advice – see my blogroll for the websites of two superb cancer support charities – both helped me tremendously