June 21st 2016-“You want to do that race for life”

21/06/16: Home-It landed on my doormat, along with a pile of junk mail. I binned the rest but not this one, this one I saved, set it aside at the end of my kitchen table to read later…when I had some time…when I was in the right head space.

And on several occasions during the past week this particular piece of as yet unopened mail has found its way back into my hands during my daily search through the land of lost and found that is my table end, only to be set back down again, still unopened.

And on several occasions during the past week whilst attempting to wipe my table clean or to rationalise the ever growing mountain of mail detritus I am accumulating, I have picked it up this as yet, still unopened mail, setting it down once more…to read later…when I have some time…when I’m in the right head space.

And here I am again, this single piece of mail back in my hand “Open it or bin it!” say I to myself, with some authority!

So I open it, it’s from my local hospice…but then I already knew this…
And I read its contents, they’re raising funds…which I also already know…
And they want my help…hmmm…I’m not sure about that!
I read on…

Two daughters, sisters sharing a sorrow look out at me from between the pages of my local hospice leaflet. They talk to me of love and of hope and of how when hope finally faded it was replaced by choice and by empowerment and it was replaced by the total and utter kindness of this, my local hospice and its incredible staff, helping these two young women to walk alongside their mother through her last few days.

and I weep and I read on…

A mother and father smile out at me, genuine appreciation lightening the dark edges of their loss-filled eyes as they explain to me how because of the hospice it was possible for their teenage daughter to spend her last few precious hours at home, in her own room, surrounded by her own things, helping them all to bear the unbearable.

I weep some more.

I put the leaflet back down. Its content so very, very close to home for me right now.

It is only 6K, the daughters offer up.

It is only a walk, remind the mum and dad.

Yes, 6K, a 6K walk…two weeks from today…but I’m not really a sponsory type of person.

And then my father’s words float back to me, back across the weeks and months of appointments, across the hours and days of treatments, back across from the time when my journey had first begun, when cancer was still barely more than just a scary word and I can’t help but smile, “You want to do that race for life!” said he earnestly to which I had replied so very adamantly, so very certain “No dad, you can do that, I’m doing the bloody chemo!”

I lay myself down justifying my apathy; I’m not really a sponsory type of person. I lay myself down and eventually find sleep. In the morning, I wake early. I wake early and complete the online form.

“I’m not really a sponsory type of person”, say I apologetically to everyone I communicate with subsequently, stressing myself out about asking for money and wondering how on earth it is that I’ve managed to put myself in this awkward and embarrassing position.

I converse with myself attempting to settle the storm brewing in my mind, I figure that maybe, if I can drum up fifty quid from my closest friends and family, I could then match it thus reaching the suggested donation amount of one hundred pounds.

I email those around me, grovelling and apologetic.

By the end of the first day I have raised nearly four hundred pounds.
FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS!

I’m in a tailspin. And breathe.

Spiralling and panicking, I have no idea how to deal with this flood of financial support. Breathe!

I’m overwhelmed: I struggle with the sense of responsibility unable to comprehend what is happening. It’s too much, the amounts that people are donating are too much, far far too much. It’s all just too much. BREATHE

I re-read the comments that people are leaving on my sponsor site alongside their kind donations and realisation begins to slowly offer itself up to me. This is not really about the hospice, the cause I’ve chosen to fund-raise for, it is about love. It is about a genuine desire from those around me, those wonderful people who have journeyed by my side these past twelve months, whether up close or from afar, to support me in the steps I’m taking; to support me to move forward, to support me to find my way through to the other side of this, my cancer story, to celebrate the life I am being given back.

So I breathe deeply one more time and I accept the generous love being pledged by those that have rallied around me over this last year, whether by phone call or email, by text or face to face.

Here’s to you all, my friends and my family, my colleagues, my neighbours for without your love and your kindness, without your thoughts and your patience, without your best wishes, I couldn’t have made it through.

So thank you, thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

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