Friday, 4 November 2016

The Right Wolf

"You can take a road that gets you to the stars. I can take a road that will see me through."  
Nick Drake

"Well, I'm glad you're still here," she says.  And just like that, she pours out the love and dispenses salted caramel chocolate biscotti - always.  I'm always glad to have spent time in her company and we talk, we laugh, we pray and sometimes we cry.  She offers me acceptance, pure and simple and in this moment, I am glad I am still here too.

Sometimes it feels like waiting is all I've known in recent years. There's been a lot of waiting with Jasmine.  Waiting for hospital appointment cards, waiting for surgery instructions, waiting for treatment plans, waiting in hospital corridors and too small windowless rooms.  Waiting for scans, for results.  And the wait and see if she's grown, if the cancer's come back - or not.

We talk about how everything happens for a reason, how everything happens in God's time, how there is a plan and if it's meant to be, it happens.  If it's not, it's because it's not time yet, or it simply isn't meant to be.  I wonder if there really is a reason for everything and I'm not sure there is, not sure there isn't.  I think sometimes things just are the way they are.  I don't ask "why" too much because some things I just never am going to know the answer to and I could drive myself crazy trying to understand.  I simply don't understand why children get cancer, and die, every single day.

Finn, Jas and I stretch out our bare toes together in front of us and cuddle up for movie night.  We make popcorn, we throw a blanket over us and we talk about feeding the right wolf.   We embraced this wolf thing after watching Tomorrowland.

So when she finds me and she can't put reason to what troubles her and there are no words for what she doesn't understand but the pain of it threatens to engulf her; when she finds me and her voice is small and she snuggles in and whispers "the wrong wolf is winning."  In that instant she doesn't need to say anymore and I can hold her in it for a time, then together we'll chase the wolf away and give victory back to the right wolf.   Finn can ask me, "which wolf is winning today?" and it grounds me to think about what I'm grateful for and there is always, always something to be grateful for.

We are living a snapshot of life that isn't the most comfortable, easy or happy.  It's broken pieces all laid out in front of me and like a jigsaw puzzle, some pieces fit when you try them and some don't.   Some pieces I just have to wait to rebuild and that friend and I try and figure out what it is I'm supposed to be doing, learning, and living in this waiting time.

As I rest in that friends company who says I'm glad you're still here, we crunch on our biscotti, sip the coffee and I'm grateful that she's right here with me taking the road that will see me through and learning to wait well.

Thursday, 1 September 2016


It’s 1st September and today I will wake up and put my brave on.  I will get dressed, I will walk my dog and I will drink coffee and I will wear gold.

I will take my daughter to meet her Grandmother and revel in the life that she breathes in to her bones and be grateful that she is on her way to a pool party with her brother, family and friends.  The clouds can gather, the rain can come and I will be grateful, just plain grateful.

I will meet my friend and we’ll talk and we’ll laugh and we’ll cry a little.   When that small girl, she’s not so small anymore, puts her hand in mine and it’s warm and my heart fills, I will think about how some days it still catches me unawares and can feel as raw as the day they told me she had a mass in her brain.    I will never tire of looking at her in this day. I will never stop thanking God for the marvel that she is.  Twinned with that, I will never stop feeling the pain of what she has endured.   How helpless a mother can feel, as she’s unable to take away the harrowing ordeal that her daughter has lived through in her short life. 

This summer we have lived large.  We have embraced life and we have laughed.   With hospital appointments looming for Jasmine, I choose to and fully believe her good health and recovery will continue.  I will believe for cure for her and for every child and parent that is faced with a cancer diagnosis.   I know what it is to walk that path, and keep on taking the next step.  The mascara Mondays come, and they come more often than I’d want.  But because she’s the bravest person I know, she inspires me to put my brave on and step out boldly in belief. 

I’ll wear gold this month, for my girl, for your girl, for your boy, for your brother, your sister, your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter, your nephew, your niece.  I’ll wear gold for the ones who earned their angel wings and I’ll honour their bravery and their lives. I’ll wear gold for the children in treatment this day, for the ones who were treated 5 years ago, and the ones who were treated 15 years ago.  And I’ll get my brave on and I’ll keep right on believing this day, this month, this year and every one that comes after.