March 17th, 2004

life begins - me


So my Aunt Sandra is seriously ill. She was diagnosed with cancer about ten years ago but has been in remission for quite awhile. Just before Christmas she got a bad chest infection that wouldn't shift and she finally was told the bad news - the cancer is back.

She's been fighting it since then and seemed to be responding well to the treatments, but yesterday we were told she was taken into a hospice and the doctors are being optimistic when they say she has two weeks.

Two of the strongest people I know are my dad and my Aunt Sandra. My dad died from cancer when I was 19 after he fought it all the way, and now Sandra is facing the same fight. She is remarkably positive and I know she will not give up. Her strength in the face of this is humbling and just makes me grateful for every moment I have with her.

Real strength isn't about muscles or being able to tow a twelve tonne truck, it's about courage. Having the courage to remain positive in the face of adversity. My dad had that courage and I know Sandra does as well.

Blessed Be
life begins - me

For Sandra McCall

My dad had no siblings who survived past infancy. His cousins became his brothers and sisters, when he married and had his own family, they became much loved aunts and uncles. Of all of them, Sandra was the heart. She always knew what the right thing to say and she was the one person a shy twelve year old could confide in. She was my mentor, my second mother, my friend.

When my dad died, she was already ill herself and yet not once did she allow that to stand in the way of being there for me, my sister and my mother.

When, a few years later, my mum died, Sandra was once again there. She was a rock. A few months after my mum's death I went through her belongings and found this, written in Sandra's writing, hidden away at the back of her change purse. It's by Joyce Grenfell. My mum had kept this because it touched her, I think Sandra would have loved to know that.

If I should die before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor, when I'm gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must
Parting is hell.
But life goes on.
So sing as well.