In Memoriam

“When you want something enough, the universe will always conspire together to help you achieve it.” Just at the beginning of this week I finished one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s called ‘The Alchemist’ and it’s written by Paulo Coelho and has been described by many as more of a self-help book than literature. It is all about destiny and about how you are the only person that’s stopping you from achieving what you want. Obviously I found it a very interesting and inspiring read as it helped me feel strong and in control of my situation. One of my favourite parts of the book is where he talks about how the prospect of suffering is always worse than the suffering itself which I believe to be very true indeed. If we can learn to live in the present without worrying and caring too much about the future then when our future does come about we will experience it with much more ease than if we were to be focusing on it constantly in the present. The present is for living. The present is where we can change things, where we are in control, which is why it is more important than anything else. So I’m going to focus solely on the present and day-by-day life because it’s where I’m going to excel frankly.

I know that I haven’t made a blog post entry in a while and it’s mostly been because I’ve been busy. (well, ‘busy’ for me and maybe I couldn’t think of anything that interesting to write about…) Last week I was able to live at home which was very comforting. It took some time to adjust but I did enjoy being able to stroll around the house at my own free will and delight in the glorious fresh pollution of London from my garden whilst listening to countless planes zoom overhead at roaring speeds. Some things never change.

I was also very happy to eat my own food and have my Dad cook for me cause he really is an excellent cook. I may have had to sacrifice my priorities over the television in favour of countless football matches but this is routine in my house unfortunately. Sadly I was not able to see my dog as she’s still considered too infectious for me to be around but I understand that she had a very lovely vacation whilst I was at home.

Last Thursday I visited the transplant centre at UCLH which is really new and shiny. My parents and I had a ‘lovely’ meeting with the Professor there about the risks involved with the transplant. I say ‘lovely’ but what I mean is fucking terrifying honestly. It was essentially a half an hour chat about all the things that could possibly go wrong during the transplant which, as you can imagine, I found incredibly reassuring. And after having explicitly told him that I didn’t want to know any stats he proceeded to give me a list of stats. Dreamy.

I honestly think the problem is men. I’m not saying they’re bad at this kind of stuff because obviously they’re good at the medicine stuff, just as are women, but I’m telling you right now that a woman would not have been so fricking scary. I spoke to the female CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) afterwards, who had sat in on the meeting with us, and she was so much more comforting and understanding. I tried to crack a couple of jokes in that meeting, to you know, ‘lighten the mood’ but he was having none of it. The one response I did get was ‘I like that you’re feisty’. Like I haven’t heard that one before.

I now realise that this blog may be becoming a hate blog for men, which it is not. I do not hate men. Men are fine. Just women are better. I’m joking. We’re all equal and all that jazz. But men are bad at talking (in general), just saying.

Anyway, so all in all, turns out I’ve got to have this transplant in around about November but I’m totally up for it. I kind of wanted it anyway, rather be cured than just in remission. It’s not a guaranteed cure of course but it’s a much higher possibility than just doing chemotherapy. And turns out I’ve got a type of Leukaemia which is more likely to come back than others so that’s why they’re giving me the transplant now and not later on when I’ve had a family. That’s the other thing they told me, that this transplant has a 99.5% chance of making me infertile. Which doesn’t actually bother me that much anyway. I mean there’s already overpopulation in the world, like I need to be adding anything to that. And adoption is always a really good option. Not that I want kids anyway, they cost too much damn money.

The one thing that annoys me about it is the fact that even if it does make me infertile (most likely) I’ll still get my period every month. Are you kidding me?! I have to suffer through that shit for no reason at all?!! It’s ridiculous. So yes, no kids = fine, periods for no reason = NOT FINE!!

So come the new year I’ll be living with brother’s bone marrow in me, which I’m hoping doesn’t give me any of his other traits, such as how ridiculously lazy he is and how much he complains all the time. Though if it can make me good at maths or give me a better metabolism I’d be really grateful for that.

Now you may be wondering why I’ve entitled this entry ‘In Memoriam’.

Sadly, last week my adorable and incredible Grandpa Ron passed away. As they say, ‘when it rains, it pours’. But I’m not going to sit here and write some very emotionally wrought piece that depresses everyone, instead I’ve chosen to remember my Grandpa with some of my most fond memories of him.

He truly was an incredible man. He lived life to the absolute full and did so many things in his life that he can be so proud of; this included joining the navy at the age of just 15.

And so, my favourite stories about Ronald, (or as he was better known to me, TROUBLE);

  1. My mum often tells me the story of how at the age of 19 she got dumped by her MUCH older boyfriend, Richard (not my Dad fortunately), and was feeling really sorry for herself and lounging about in her misery at home in Derby. So about tea time, Grandpa comes home from having just been having a drink with his friends down at the pub. He sees Mum very upset and goes to comfort her with these very reassuring words that any daughter wants to hear, “Just seen Richard down the pub with his new bird…I can see why he dumped you!” hahahhaha Classic gramps!!!
  2. One year we spent Christmas up in Derbyshire with Grandma and Grandpa. We all squeezed round the ping pong table as no other table could seat us all in our vast numbers. In my grandparents old house you had to climb up some stairs to get to the big living room where we were eating our lovely lunch. Grandpa took it on himself to deliver the turkey from the kitchen to the table which resulted in a rather disastrous event. Picture this; Grandpa climbing up the stairs carrying the very hefty turkey and seeming to be struggling a little under its weight. Then there’s the rest of us, eagerly awaiting the turkey’s arrival and within a flash the turkey is flying through the air as Grandpa trips on the last step. We then hear the shout, “I think I’ve broken a leg.” Panic ensues as we rush to his side only to discover it was the turkey leg he was referring to and not his own. I think you might be able to tell by now why I called him ‘Trouble’.

There are thousands of stories I could tell you about gramps but instead I’ll ask you to do this; remember any grandparents or close relatives that you’ve lost and not think of them with sadness but with celebration and joy.

On Thursday this week my grandpa will take his last trip through the English countryside in a VW Camper Van instead of a hearse because that was always his style. The toughest thing for me will be not being able to be there to celebrate his life but I’ll be wearing bright colours in my hospital room for him cause he always liked to dress brightly (he did indeed have a pair of yellow courduroys and always an orange jumper handy – it’s where I get my style from evidently). Although I know he wanted me to become a doctor (sorry gramps, never going to happen) I’ll always admire deeply his appreciation for education and his desire to never stop learning. I think that’s something we can all take from him. And even now, though I’ve finished school and am in between education, I haven’t stopped learning. In fact I’m learning every day. I’m learning how to be a better person, and if I can one day achieve the kind of life my grandpa lived I will feel fulfilled in every way.

The Gramps (Christmas 2013)

The Gramps (Christmas 2013)

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5 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. beautiful post. Your gramps was such a kind man and terrific fun – he kept Farly and I laughing for days when he drove us through France when we were 15 (and both spectacularly moody). I will always remember him xxx

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  2. Hi Florance, your blogs do make me laugh. Our thoughts are with you all. Cornwall is hot lovely. Bye for know JENNY and Bob 😘😘😘😘😘😘

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  3. I bet he would have been delighted to know that you have decided to remember him with such love and by sharing your memories of him. By the way – have you heard of Mindfulness? It’s all about living in the present moment. There are some very good Mindfulness meditations available on the internet (I think Jon Kabat Zinn has some) and some good books too. Let me know if you would like any recommendations.

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