This isn’t a fluff piece, its time to get serious. And I don’t have any pretty photos to accompany it either.
My stepdad is battling cancer for the third time. As I write this, he’s resting at home after a stint in hospital undergoing chemotherapy. He’s probably lost count of how many rounds of chemo he’s had in his life. But it’s horrible and it’s a lonely and isolating place to be. One of pain, nausea and misery. And hope. At least there is always hope. Of a recovery, or a means to slow down the disease.
My Jack’s middle name is Andrew, named after my step-dad and Jack’s beloved poppy. Before our first child was even conceived, we discussed having a little boy and naming him Jack Andrew. There was no other option. Craig wanted Jack and I wanted Andrew. Done. Settled. When I was pregnant we hoped for this boy. It goes without saying that we wanted a healthy child and would have been as overjoyed with a girl, but then out came our Jack. It means so much that he bears the name of someone I love dearly.
I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately. Funnily enough it was after someone left a comment on my Facebook status recently that read, in part, that I have “enthusiasm for everything”. It really made me think, and I was pleased that someone I know views me that way. Happiness comes very easily to me, but it’s been harder lately. It’s difficult to feel happy when someone you love is suffering, when people you love are suffering. In addition to my stepdad, two dear friends battle autoimmune conditions. They probably don’t know this, but I think of them daily. Every day. One of whom I’ve known since my early teens, and then other, more recently, since my late twenties. They are both married with children and their conditions never stop them from enjoying life and making plans. These women have no idea how they inspire me. But I also desperately wish they didn’t have to live with pain. Others I know lost their mothers this year as well. Disease and tragedy don’t discriminate and we just never know how much time we have left to enjoy life and be with the people we love.
So I try to be grateful to be alive and for everything I have, because life is such a gift. I focus on the positives and I say “yes” a lot. I want to experience new things and meet new people. To step out of my comfort zone and do things that might scare me even though I’m fearful of failure. I’d rather do nothing than fail – and I need to change this mindset. Some of the best days of my life have been moments where I haven’t wanted to do something, but did. You don’t make great memories by saying “Nah, I can’t be bothered”. Say yes more often, embrace life and see what happens. Above all, be grateful. Focus on the roof over your head, a loving family, wonderful friends and internet, so you can read this blog. Sorry – just wanted to end this sad piece by making you smile.