I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write about the time we spent in the Cotswolds last weekend and I’ve come to the conclusion that less is more. I can’t fully put into words how much these girls mean to me, but I’ll have a bit of a go. Let’s just say there was lots of laughter, a few inevitable tears (mainly from Karen who inexplicably starting sobbing in the sandwich aisle of the Co-Op, sorry Karen!) and some new friendships were formed (I’ve seen you all friend requesting each other).
Sometimes I get scared that my illness is too much for people to handle and that can leave you feeling pretty vulnerable. But the one thing I took from that weekend is that I now understand what true friendship means. It’s not going to the pub, or shopping, or moaning about men or poking each other on Facebook, although these things are also good. It’s that there’s absolutely no opt-out, no get-out clause, no matter what comes along – grief, tragedy, sorrow, whatever. That when you’re really bloody frightened and baffled and bewildered, you look over your shoulder and there they all are, about 2 steps behind and you realise they’ll never, ever leave you. And that’s as true for me as it is for the rest of them (Laura, I’m talking mainly to you here – I got your back, my love).
So here’s to my beautiful friends. You are all in my heart, always and I hope I can one day be there for you in the way you are for me (even if some of you are a bit autistic) Kisses to you all xxx
Everyone’s got a posse, right? This weekend, I will be heading to a beautiful house in the Cotswolds with 8 of my bestest girls. This has been arranged for us by the amazing people at the Willow Foundation, who organise “special days” for poorly people. I don’t feel poorly (except when I have to sit in the cancer room with all the bald, pale people with drips in their arms, to wait for my pills – hard to believe I was once a bald, pale person. Seems forever ago now) but apparently I qualify. Anna had to sign a form as my official ‘carer’ for the weekend – cue Lou and Andy jokes. So I will be in beautiful countryside with some of my all-time favourite girls this weekend, chatting, walking, eating and maybe a bit of singing, and I CANNOT tell you how excited I am.
The Willow Foundation was set up by Bob Wilson (apparently he’s quite a famous ex-footballer and TV pundit; means nothing to me, sorry Bob) who set up the Foundation in his daughter Anna’s memory after she died of cancer at 31. She got through hours and weeks of gruelling treatment and the inevitable emotional trauma by having lots of little things to look forward to, including quality time with her friends. I know exactly how she must have felt and the charity was set up to give anyone who needs it a bit of a break from the constant stress of hospitals and all the pain-in-the-arse admin of having a serious illness.
So thank you Anna, and Bob, and everyone at the Willow Foundation. Pictures of my gorgeous friends to follow next week…
Article in Guardian magazine today called Cancer: The New Normal. Hideous and brilliant at the same time, but the best line … “My friends often asked whether I felt as if my life was somehow made abnormal by my disease. I would tell them the same thing: for someone who is sick, this is their new normal.” Spot on really, but i guess the point is that even people who are ill find some kind of ‘normal, even if it’s not the same as everyone else’s. Tis true. My normal has been to bake a cake today 🙂
Fear not people, last week’s trauma is over somewhat. Over the past few days I’ve learnt a valuable, worthitsweightingold lesson and it’s this: that it is possible to face fear and anger head on, really let it into your heart and feel it in all its gut-wrenching agony, and then MOVE ON. Thanks to some amazingly kind words from both friends and strangers, I’ve just twigged that, actually it’s alright to feel like fear and anger have got your head and soul in a vice. Cos it doesn’t last, and facing it, dealing with it, and putting it in the box on top of the wardrobe afterwards works. It always, always feels better the next day and especially so when you win a tiny little battle against feelings you’ve often legged it from in the past, cos it’s too hard to feel them. And you know what, this tiny victory feels good. So it is possible to live with this, but IMPORTANTLY change your whole perspective on life by finding courage you never thought you had and wearing it like a shield. A great big massive shield. To anyone who took the time to scoop me off the floor last week, and you know who you are, thank you. I got through this tricky little bit by using your compassion and love as a massive crutch. Loves yas all x 🙂