Showing posts with label cancer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cancer. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Friendships In Your Forties - What I've Learned

IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Female Friendship In Your Forties

I've been having lots of wonderful times spent with friends lately.  New friends, old friends, new friends who feel like old friends, and friends you don't really know you have until you both step into each others' path and say, "I have always liked you and I want you in my life."

I seem to have struck that scenario quite a few times in recent years. I've written before about my love of the 'mummy mafia' and how I have been fortunate enough to have had a largely positive experience with the schoolyard interactions. The truth is, I love the friendships I've made in this chapter of my life. I love that at this age if you wish to connect with someone, you just do. No games, no pretense, no insecurity, just a simple desire to connect with someone who is like-minded and maybe makes you laugh, or makes you feel happy. It's as simple at this age as it was when we were kids ourselves because when you have kids of your own, potential friends seem to be all around you if you're willing to put yourself out there.  And while as a kid I was always more likely to hang around with boys as I seemed to connect with them more easily than with girls, these days my brilliant, widely-varying female friendships are pure gold to me and I'm so grateful for each and every one of them. 

I had a really special friend a few years ago who I adored and to this day I believe she taught me a lot about making friends and about the simple act of reaching out and being transparent.  We connected with each other almost immediately and she provided me with such happiness and joy. My friend had cancer throughout our friendship and while it didn't define our friendship in any way, I think in a small way it helped bring us together in the early days.  We weren't friends because of cancer, but I believe that we both knew that there was no point wasting time in making our connection 'a thing'. My beautiful friend, who was experiencing the awful possibility of dying sooner than the rest of us, knew better than anyone how to connect with others who would provide her with that wonderful friendship-y stuff I'm talking about; the friendship stuff that had nothing to do with her illness.  She connected with many of us wholeheartedly and in doing so, she taught me how to make friends without hesitation and without the time-wasting notion of waiting to see what pans out over time. Although we had to say goodbye to her some time ago, this lesson in friendship is something I have taken with me to this day. For that, (and for so many other things I learned from her), I'm truly grateful.

So here's the thing about me in this chapter of my life. These days, if you and I are destined to be friends, it probably won't be me hanging back in the shadows waiting for you to make the first move.  In my forties I've learned to step forward, to reach out a hand and to say what's in my heart; about what a friend means to me. My dear friend taught me that too. I really believe we should foster wonderful, deep and fulfilling friendships as though time is not a luxury and we shouldn't allow hesitation and insecurity to get in the way of whatever wonderful things are there to be experienced as a cherished friend. So if there's someone bubbling away on your radar that you know you're destined to be friends with, take that step. Discuss the prospect of coffee! It's the age old caffeine-y glue that binds friends together! You just never know the joy that you may be missing by hesitating.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gerdi And Her Friends...

IMAGE : ALBERT BREDENHANN  | Gerdi And Her Friends

I watched a beautiful video recently based upon the woman above, Gerdi McKenna. Have you seen it? If not, you can watch it here. In the video, Gerdi's friends get together for a special photo shoot to support her through a recent breast cancer diagnosis. I don't share this as lightly as I do most other things, because there are many raw nerves attached to a cancer story; especially amongst the regular readers here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

And That's All I'll Say About That...

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD| And That's All I'll Say

Today, I feel a strange sense of calm and reflective finality. It's like that feeling when you close the final page on a life-changing book that is full of highs and lows but doesn't necessarily have a fairytale ending. I feel as though we're closing a door on cancer for the first time in years. I must note that no one in my house has it and for that I'm incredibly grateful (particularly given I've observed the kind of bravery one requires to navigate its journey and I'm convinced it's not in me) but I've lived relatively closely with it for years, on and off.

Yesterday we said goodbye to one of our dear family members, aged 46, mother of two beloved teenage boys who fought the bravest of battles for twelve years. In February, we said goodbye to my dear friend, aged 41, mother of three beloved children who I was lucky enough to share a wonderful five year friendship with as she battled so galantly. Both had cancer, both were incredibly positive and brave mothers, and both left us with many important life lessons while they were here; lessons that mean even more to us now that they're gone.

So perhaps it's time for cancer to just sod off and give everyone some health and happiness for a while, eh? We need to now focus on the healing of our friends and loved ones who remain, instead of living with the impending grey cloud of sadness, the roller coaster ride of test results, and the private dread that comes with observing (or living with) a terminal illness.

And that is all I'll say about that. Much love to the two special people in my world who are now at peace. Always with us, remembered with love, never forgotten.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Lingering Lessons From Great Ormond Street

IMAGE: MORGUEFILE.COM | Lingering Lessons Of Great Ormond
Wow. Has anyone watched the BBC documentary, Great Ormond Street? It follows the day to day ups and downs of a children's hospital in Britain and it's enthralling and heart - wrenching all at once. If you ever need to re-group and find that sense of appreciation for the fortunate life you lead (if indeed like me, child illness is not a part of your world), this is the program to watch (complete with the aloe vera tissues - you'll need 'em). 

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Legacy Of My Friend, The Warrior Woman

IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | The Legacy Of My Friend, The Warrior Woman

Although I don't feel the usual upbeat sense of creativity and enthusiastic desire to pour words onto the page for the sake of good therapy, I feel it's important to make a note of this time, this strange time I'm living where my dear friend is gone. The house is quiet, there are no random phone calls, emails or text messages containing the usual enjoyable nothingness of our everyday life. There is a void now which was always filled by our wonderful female 'friendship-py' things. And it's that I'm having such trouble getting used to. The quiet. The absence of our daily, often very personal conversations.