Part 21. Humans.
There’s been some watery eye action lately and not all because of the crazy choices I’ve had to consider on the breasties front. This blog has been brought on by the extreme kindness (like extreme sports only with more danger of emotional outpourings like this one) of some extraordinary humans. I did put a warning up when I started this blog – there’d be swearing and there’d be public appreciation. Well here’s a shit-ton of both…
My amazing team (of friends) at work caught me out on the Wednesday after my final chemo appointment with a massive cheer, applause, gifts, stunning flowers, euros for my trip (yeah you got mentioned lady!), and enough cake for several world cup teams all to celebrate the end of chemo. They demonstrated some hard-core love, way beyond what I’d expect from colleagues and it made my eyes overflow and my heart swell.
This was just a day after family and two of my besties celebrated the end of chemo with a meal, a gin I couldn’t finish, gifts and flowers to mark the occasion. Di even created a chemo collage card with ‘well thank fuck that’s over’ printed inside. That’s not going in the keepsakes box anytime soon! Yes, I have a cancer keepsake box. It will remind me of the power of the Army for ever more. I was sent and given more flowers, some of which I had to do detective work on due to the sender being a mystery, turned out to be Em, choosing beautiful, abundant pink roses – my house momentarily looked like a florists and I loved it!
Saturday 23 June El Capitan, aka KP, and my bro from another (KPs amazing hubby) Joel, took me to see Lionel at Hove cricket ground (of all places) where we discovered that a. I wasn’t ever on the verge of swooning and needing to go home. The only swooning likely would have been due to adoration due to b. Lionel being very funny, talented and I know way more of his songs than I thought. We got an upgrade due to a problem with our seats so ended up near the front. I had 2 boozy drinks and a bottle of water on a hot evening and felt fine. And the 3 of us literally embraced as we joyously sang loudly. We also danced and I caught two of my faves being loved up! It was a life affirming evening with people I really love.
On Sunday 24 June mum and I flew to Nice. Mum has said for months that she’d take me away when chemo was done even if just for a couple of nights. In true mum fashion, she did it in style choosing our joint fave place to decompress. Decompress is an understatement. I felt so bloody chilled almost instantly, even from the moment Dad put my suitcase in his car. Being away from all of it just for a bit was magical. Laughing uncontrollably with mum on our artsy hotel’s marble staircase until tears were rolling down our cheeks was magical. Sitting and just looking at the sea under a parasol for the best part of a day was magical. Eating half a salmon wrap in a wheelchair at Nice airport was unforgettable. That’s another story entirely. We ate beautiful, simple food outside (including strawberry laces obvs), we chatted with Persian Americans, Dutch people, French people, of course, and confirmed that if you’re open you find good humans wherever you go. Mum gifted me precious time with her in a place we both completely adore. We literally drank champagne in the sun and got our toes (and tits) wet in the bright blue sea. That’s a trip I’ll never forget with a woman I am so grateful to have as my mama. She’s literally like no other mother. From now on I want to visit Nice at least annually, I want to have a few days with my mum at least annually, and I would always like to ride on the back of a mini car at Gatwick through the hoards of travellers. All 3 go together perfectly!
And while I was sitting on a beach and for the 18th week in a row (roughly) Tabitha, the bloody all-giving, all energy enigma did all my laundry and my Dad, who’s been so incredible and calm from day one, changed and laundered my bedding. He even put the cushions on the bed in a fancy way! I haven’t got any pics of my laundry. What an idiot.
Late afternoon Friday 29 June someone knocked on my door. I clumsily chucked my wig on (too hot for anything on the head right now) as N rushed to answer for me, ending up partly coming to the door with me. G also came down the stairs as I opened it to a young guy holding a beautiful bouquet (main pic). He asked if I was Emma and when I said yes he said the flowers and cards were from his mum. I asked him who his mum is and he told me. A woman I went to school with, who I’ve seen maybe 3 or 4 times in the last few years. He handed over the flowers and cards and I was super moved at the fact that she’d sought out my address and delivered such stunning flowers. I read the small card first which mentioned enjoying the gift when I’ve recovered. Not the beautiful blooms then. The larger card was more detailed and was so thoughtfully written. C (I’m pretty sure she’d prefer I didn’t name her) wrote about keeping up with my blog and wanting to ensure I can do something nice for me and the girls. They were standing with me as I read her words aloud, crying. Inside the card was another envelope containing a very generous financial gift to spend on me and the girls. I was speechless other than to say ‘what the fuck’ several times and make weird emotional noises. Her thought and generosity blew my mind and I can’t wait to tell her face to face what an impact she made today, and will make when I treat my babies, and me sometime soon. That a woman I barely see and with whom I’ve had minimal contact would do such a thing for me and the girls astounds me and fills me with soppy stuff – I can’t articulate how it feels as it’s so weird and rare and overwhelming and people keep making that feeling happen!
Finally, on Saturday 30 June the girls, mum and dad and I went to the Brighton Race For Life so I could meet Lynn, the lovely woman at Cancer Research UK I’ve been speaking to, as well as Gill, a woman who had the same diagnosis as me and her daughter, and so I could sound the very loud horn to start the race. My G took a step back when – she knows me too well – as I took pleasure in making a massive noise for as long as possible. The morning was bloody brilliant and uplifting. However, being on my beautiful mate Anna’s back was the best, as was the fact that we both yelled ‘I love you’ as she passed the stage with hundreds of other women.
These examples aren’t the first (as you know), and I’m guessing they won’t be the last. It’s likely I’ve missed other wonderful examples. If I have I’m sorry, but I hope everyone knows how hugely grateful and uplifted I am by your acts of kindness.
Humans are FULL of love. Full of it. They take me to a place no amount if medicine will ever take me, and one of them takes me to flipping Nice. They’re an enormous part of my cure – a vital one. Every act of love is like another dose of a tumour busting drug, only this love-drug’s side effects are loads more enjoyable!