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A grateful and glad heart

Posted May 23 2013 12:00am

Yesterday, I got this through the post:

Today, I have the honour of speaking at a Race for Life event and, more importantly, taking part.

So I suppose it’s no surprise that I’m thinking about cancer – and the glorious absence of it from my slightly-the-worse-for-wear breasts – more than I would on your average Thursday.

The last almost-five years have shown me what a lot I’ve had to do in the world; what a lot would have gone unaccomplished if I hadn’t been treated when I was. And by that I don’t mean that the world should be grateful that I was here; I’m not talking about me blogging and talking and writing books and all that. (That has been important work for me, but it’s a workload shared by many who have danced with cancer, and if I hadn’t been here to do my bit, I know that someone else would have taken up the slack.)

The things that I’ve accomplished are more mundane and more meaningful. The daughtering, the mothering, the being half of a marriage, for starters. A lot has happened in our family these last few years, and I’m glad I’ve been here to be useful; and I’m glad too that cancer taught me how to ask for support, and be supported, when I’ve needed to be. As my children have grown up, they’ve challenged me to be a different sort of mother, and that learning has added such a lot to my life. Alan and I will celebrate ten years of marriage this year – and oh, how we’ll celebrate this blissful, strong centre of our worlds. I’ve loved godmothering, this half decade: I’ve loved growing the relationships that I hope will stand strong and helpful to my godchildren for a long time. I love being the other person who is unquestioningly there, at the moment for general hanging-out, colouring-in and doing-stuff, but I’m also aware that I’m laying the foundations for – well, for who knows what, and that’s the point. I feel as though my friendships are better and stronger. And, in the end, when I do go – whether carried off by cancer, or old age, or a freak accident (which is one of the many reasons to always be wearing good underwear) – it will be the relationships in my life that I’ll be most grateful for, and most glad of.

So this evening, as my beautiful daughter and I walk 5km round Northumberlandia , I’ll have a grateful and glad heart, because I’m here, because I’ve been able to have these years and more, because the prognosis for those of us dancing with cancer keeps on getting better and better. And I’ll also be holding in my heart those people who have lost, are losing, people that they love to this wretched disease.

I’ll post pictures of our Race for Life tomorrow. In the meantime, if you’d like to sponsor Joy and I, please click here .

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May 23, 2013
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