Saturday, May 22, 2010

Best of times and worst of times

I've been trying to compose this post for quite a while now as you can see by how long it is since I last posted. Usually I keep this blog for good things happening in my life but alas I need it now for something bad that's been happening now for a few months. If you would rather not read my bad news then stop right here.
I think I can summarise by telling you about my birthday yesterday. Friday, the 21st. Ricardo has been in hospital for 3 weeks now with the mystery illness that I spoke about in my last post where we visited the Royal School of Needlework. So my birthday had to be spent away from him, my favourite buddy. Still it was a lovely day. It started with my usual walk with my friend Caryll in the woods near here with her two doggies.

Calm, peaceful and magical.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It felt strange somehow to be warm first thing in the morning.
Next came breakfast with my darlings Clarissa and Zebedee and Yusuf the 'King-of-eggs-Benedict'. Here we are sitting in the sun next to the veggie patch. Another calm, warm special moment.
Then it was off to Banham zoo which is just down the road from us but I've never been before. My friend Lisa and I wandered about in the sunshine with Zebbie, the perfect accompaniment for zoo visiting. Although isn't it always the way that animals are always asleep in a distant and camouflaged state when you're trying to point them out to a small child. There was one very, very sweet moment however when we came across a family of black gibbons all asleep and spooned together in the sun right up close to the viewing window. The tiny baby woke up and climbed up as close as it could get to Zebbie and they touched hands with only glass between. Clarrissa had given me the MOST beautiful dress and accessories for my birthday and Lisa and I looked quite glamorous in comparison to the usual run of the mill zoo visitors in fat shorts and beetle back packs.
Zebbie wore his 'Easy Tiger' T-shirt and the man driving the tiger train really wanted one.
Then it was time to visit my darling in hospital. Here he is looking suave in his PJ's.
That was when the bad news came, the worst of times so far. The consultant came to talk to us, pulled the curtain round us and sat trying to pull himself together to give us the bad news. He closed his eyes as he told us so as not to cry. Richard has cancer in his liver and has up to 2 years left, depending on how healthy we can keep him. There is no cure nor chance of transplant nor use of chemo to halt it's march. One of the gorgeous nurses came after the consultant and got us cups of tea in china cups & saucers. I can't speak highly enough of how we were both treated during this nightmare of not knowing. The nurses all gave more than we expected including hugs whenever things got bad and were the most caring and wonderful bunch you could ever wish for.
On our way home from the hospital we spied a couple of balloons about to take off. Something about them (along with fireworks and brass bands) always makes me cry and so finally they did the trick and I sobbed and sobbed as I watched them sail off.
I've brought him home now and the awful business of telling everyone begins as we try and console all our friends and family scattered across the globe.
The only thing that smooths out my terror and anxiety at the moment is reading and re-reading Gerald Durrell's book 'My family and other animals'. Here's an excerpt for you to calm and sooth you after my awful news.
"The sea lifted smooth blue muscles of wave as it stirred in the dawn light, and the foam of our wake spread gently behind us like a white peacock's tail, glinting with bubbles. The sky was pale and stained with yellow on the Eastern horizon.
Ahead lay a chocolate-brown smudge of land, huddled in mist, with a frill of foam at its base. This was Corfu and we strained our eyes to make out the exact shapes of the mountains, to discover valleys, peaks, ravines, and beaches, but it remained a silhouette. Then suddenly the sun shifted over the horizon, and the sky turned the smooth enamelled blue of a jay's eye. The endless, meticulous curves of the sea flamed for an instant and then changed to deep royal purple flecked with green. The mist lifted in quick, lithe ribbons, and before us lay the island, the mountains as though sleeping beneath a crumpled blanket of brown, the folds stained with the green of olive-groves. Along the shore curved beaches as white as tusks among tottering cities of brilliant gold, red,and white rocks. Rounding the cape, we left the mountains, and the island sloped gently down, blurred with the silver and green iridescence of olives, with here and there an admonishing finger of black cypress against the sky. The shallow sea in the bays was butterfly blue, and even above the sound of the ship's engine we could hear, faintly ringing from the shore like a chorus of tiny voices, the shrill, triumphant cries of the cicadas."


Lulu LaBonne said...

This is incredibly sad news (words are so bloody inadequate) Joey and Ricardo, I'm thinking of you both so much xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

JoeyJoJo said...

Thank you my darling friend. xxxx

Antonia said...

I read Mary Wesley when I hate the way things are going.

The best sort of love one can have is one who will join you in wearing capes and leotards. When you find someone you can love and be truly silly with, you are one of the luckiest people in the world.

All of us have a number of years left to live, and no more, and I hope you enjoy every day of yours. I love you both loads. x x x x x x

GinaTricoteur said...

Joey...I was so shocked to read your post :( Cancer is frightening. My mum died of it so I know that feeling when the doctor's close the curtains. I am praying you both have the best two years ever. Live every moment and do lots of crazy things. They told me my mum had 6 months but she was no fighter and lasted a week!!!! which was very shocking but if Ricardo is out of hospital I'm sure it will be fine. He can fight it you know. Many people live much longer than expected. Don't give up hope :))
Your words were so beautiful..I burst into tears...
Happy belated birthday...:) xxx

suez said...

my lovely sister and bro. thankyou for being able to put the words are both very brave and strong.Tears came flowing but not in a bad way i am sure tears are part of building strength.We love you all the way from Oz.XX

Mardi said...

Richard in those lovely pj's did me in, Macg too... Couldn't read for the tears were flowing. Much love to you both. xxxxxxxxx

Brondie said...

Oh Joey, that was really beautiful. I love you both and am sending you lots of love and strength and happiness.

Brond xxxxxx

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