Posted in Family, Life, Medical, Women's Issues, writing

The last time I saw Paris …

I haven’t been to Paris for 20 years. And I haven’t posted here for a few days.

Last night I was reminded with a jolt why I began blogging, properly, I mean – rather than signing up, writing one post then forgetting about it.

I’m not going to write yet another lament about Paris.  The attacks.  Those terrorists. I’m not going to speculate on who was responsible or what their cause may have been.  Yes, we all know, and have shared in countless tweets and Facebook statuses (stati???), how horrified we are; how we’ll all stand with the people of Paris; how we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.  Yes, we’re all devastated.  Yes, it’s scary and awful and should never have happened …

Last Thursday should have been my LLETZ appointment at the Colposcopy Clinic. Remember? I wrote this blog entry about being told I’d ‘failed’ my cervical smear test; and got sent for a biopsy…

I ended up having to cancel it … turns out it’s that time of the month . And the letter said to call and reschedule if that was the case.  I called twice, the day before, when it was obvious I wouldn’t make it.  I got an answermachine, and left a message.  It said “If you wish to cancel your appointment, leave your name and address; if you wish to speak to someone in the clinic, leave your name and phone number and someone will call you back”.  I left my name and number and message…hoping that I would get a call back to reschedule. I called later and got the same answer machine.  I called the next morning – the day of the appointment, and got the same message, so I left the same message, still expecting a call back.

That was two days ago.  I have resigned myself to the fact that, if they got my message, they will just send out another appointment letter.  I was hoping they wouldn’t do that.  I was hoping they would call me back and actually make an appointment with me, so I could check my diary.  Because it’s almost December.  And December this year, as I did last year, I will be living in Christmas again.

Last year, on a whim, I applied to play Mrs Claus at a large hotel.  it really, truly, was a magical, fun, happy experience.  Of course the pay was crappy and some of the people one had to work with were … well … lacking people skills, and the Christmas Spirit.  Some of the masses and masses of crowds of people jostling for their chance to see the big guy also lacked the spirit of Christmas; there were instances of nastiness and meanness from various sides that could have brought one to tears; BUT, Santa asked me, as we neared Christmas Eve, if I would consider doing it again; and I had little doubt in saying yes, almost immediately.  He agreed.  There were instances, people, occasions, that COULD have ruined Christmas for us all; but there were SO many more magical little instances that made us want to risk coming back.  The happier, smilier, most amazed of the children (and the adults, a surprisingly large number of whom displayed amazing Seasonal spirit!); the individual stories we would hear about, and from the mouths of, certain visitors … someone who had just lost a parent or grandparent; someone who wanted a nice photo with Santa because it might be their last photo; Someone who was so full of amazement and wonder because they’d never seen anything like this before; a group of school children whose class elf had disappeared a week before, then suddenly found his way into my sack of dolly-mixtures … all made the downsides of the job almost disappear.

I wanted to speak to someone and make my appointment in person, so that I could know the date, and not have to worry about another letter with another inconvenient date, dropping through the door.  Because with all the ‘not knowing’, something known and definite would be nice.  And it would be nice if they could at least let me have Christmas, without having to worry about it.

Like for a while, I’ve imagined I could feel a difference between one breast and the other.  The other morning I happened to mention it to the Other Half.  And with all this not knowing he leaped on it and immediately made an appointment at the doctors.  They had a cancellation, so I was there within 20 minutes.  The GP was reassuring, and happy – well, it was first thing in the morning, he hadn’t had the rest of the day to drag him down yet, I suppose – I apologised and explained about the abnormal smear and the waiting for the LLETZ appointment and that O/H, and me I suppose, were on heightened Cancer alert I suppose; anyway, I put it down to my right hand being a lot stronger than my left hand and it being very difficult to tell if both sides were the same; or very different; and in all honesty, I’d been breastfeeding up till a few months before; not to mention had 3 pretty close together; so couldn’t recall what ‘normal’ really was anyway.  He put my mind at ease, had a check (with a chaperone) and was pretty confident he couldn’t feel any difference in tissue on either side.  So, one minor weight, which I hadn’t really mulled over much anyway, off my mind.  But it did awaken me to the fact that it really is always there, in the background, affecting every decision I make.

Which brings me back to last night.  And this post.  And why last night made me remember to post.

My first post when I began this blog was a wake-up call.  A relative had written an autobiography of sorts.  Other relatives, although still with us physically, are, for all intents and purposes of learning from them, their philosophies, their history, their lives, are all but lost to us.  And then, there are relatives, remembered fondly, with whom I wish I could still chat. Now I’m older, and have children, and have had experiences I could have shared with them, there are more things I would have liked to have asked them, and learned from them.  And it makes me sad that I won’t. And in most of those cases, it wasn’t sudden.  They were old, and ill, or we could see it coming. And I committed to writing something of my life, even if just here, in a random corner of the internet that most people will never stumble across; so if there ever was a question my children wanted answered; or wanted my opinion on; maybe they’ll find some answer from me.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Fryer
Photo courtesy of Catherine Fryer

Last night, people went out for dinner, or to a concert, or to a sports game.  And never came home.

They didn’t live in a war zone; or in a region regularly terrorized by hurricane scale weather patterns; they didn’t even live in a country under military rule or in a permanent state of civil unrest.  They lived in a country in which I have one close relative already living an idyllic lifestyle; and this week another, even closer relative, has been driving around checking out peaceful places and  properties with a view to settling there within a few years.

In 2013, a helicopter crashed into a pub full of people who had, simply, gone to the pub for a quick pint.  Even crossing the road or sitting in your car are not things people think of as being dangerous. But events like a trucks breaks failing or driver error, to the families of people who are now no longer here; have this devastating effect as a shooting, or a bombing, or a typhoon … someone dies.  And more often than not, people die, for no reason, in the middle of their lives. No matter how many times they went to the gym; how many cucumbers they ate or how many chocolate bars they didn’t. Far more people seem to die when they didn’t ‘plan’ to.

So don’t worry about trying to live forever.  Just make sure you live, while you have the chance. And take pictures, and keep a diary. Leave something.

Stay safe, readers XXX  I’m off to hug my baby.


Writer; Mother; (nonpackageholiday)Traveler; Actor; Petowner; Homemaker; Coffee drinker; liver of life.