What’s going on?

What's going on?

What’s going on?

Isn’t it amazing how music has the ability to dictate our mood and speak to our subconscious. We have escaped the cold Victorian winter and are taking a short mid-winter break in Queensland. I am nearly 2 weeks out since my second chemo and not feeling too bad…a bit weak and clammy and strange, but not too bad all things considered. The warm sunny days here in Queensland are like an elixir. The resort is so relaxing with it’s large shaded verandah looking out across the Noosa river, that I would love to hide away here for the next few months.  Tonight we took a sunset cruise down the Noosa river. It was the most perfect late afternoon, not a cloud in the sky, with the promise of a clear balmy evening. As the river came into a lake, the engine was turned off and the boat allowed to drift and there was a feeling of awe as the sun moved towards the horizon of a backdrop framed by the Glasshouse mountains.  Throughout the cruise a mixed soundtrack of old music was playing, although barely audible above the sound of the engine. When the noise of the engine was turned off, the song that was playing at that time was allowed to waft across the water and gently fill the silence that accompanied a most beautiful and serene sunset. Suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness.  It wasn’t until my 12 year old son came up to me and said “this is the song they played at Amanda’s funeral and it makes me feel so sad”, that I recognised this song for what it was. This was the song that had played as they carried the coffin of my lovely friend Amanda out of the church and into the hearse, and it kept playing as the hearse drove away with her husband and four children walking quietly behind it; a vision that will live with me forever.  This song was not one that I could even tell you who the artist was and not one that I had heard too many times before, and yet here it was, singing across the lake at this scene of peace and serenity.

Oh my beautiful friend Amanda, how much you taught me about how to live life. Diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer at the age of 41, nearly 3 years prior, she quickly made sure that everyone knew that she was not dying of cancer, she was living with cancer. A more positive, vivacious and caring person you would be hard-pressed to meet. Amanda had this knack of pulling people together and making people feel good. She just got on and underwent gruelling surgery followed by aggressive chemotherapy, determined that she would see her youngest child start school the following year. Her life force and tenacity were a force to be reckoned with. While her bone and liver mets never went away, they were able to be held in check for quite some time, long enough to travel with her husband and children on a luxury trip around Europe, long enough for ski holidays and long enough to travel with the family on an African safari, like they’d always dreamed of doing. Throughout these trips the children were made to write in their travel journals each day – recording the precious memories of this time together with their mum and as a family. Even when the cancer did start to overtake her, it could never consume her sense of humour or dull her spirit, and she still wanted to hear everything you’d been up to. And then as it became clear that her time was drawing near, she had her friends around to share french champagne and tell funny stories and reminisce about the good times. Always with her kids close by her side.  In the last couple of months as she spent most of the day sleeping, during her ‘awake’ times one of the four children would be fetched from school, in order that she get to spend that awake time with her precious family. I know she cried, and I know she was heard to say “this is so bloody hard”, while she waited outside the school gates for one of the children to be picked up, but if ever there was a way to live and die, then this was it. There is a lot to be said for knowing that one’s death is imminent. Those who die suddenly are not afforded the luxury of fulfilling dreams, saying good-bye and planning their funeral. In the final days, Amanda was able to plan her funeral and leave messages to her children, family and friends, which were read out at the funeral. A funeral that saw more than 520 of her closest friends and relatives cram into our lovely local church and spill out into the car park, on a cold and dreary day that so befitted the occasion. Her passing away, exactly 4 weeks ago today, has hit our small community very hard. Our children all go to school together, play sport together and just hang out together. The mums and dads are all very close friends and care for each other in a way that really only happens in small rural communities. We will be grieving for quite some time yet, as we miss our beloved friend and help her children and husband get through this time while they figure out how to live without their mother and wife. But she would not want us to mope around, wasting our own precious life being sad for too long. I learnt so many lessons from you, Amanda, and  I will hold them tight as I travel through my own journey with this insidious disease. And how very lovely to be reminded of you tonight as we witnessed a magical sunset on a quiet lake far from the cold Victorian winter.

What’s Going On, by 4 Non Blondes

25 years and my life is still
trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this
Brotherhood of man
For whatever that means
And so I cry somethimes when I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out what’s in my head
And I’m, I am feeling a little peculiar
So I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What’s goin’ on
And I say hey….
And I say hey what’s goin’ on
And I say hey….
I said hey what’s goin’ on
Oooh….
Oooh….
And I try, oh my God do I try
I try all the time
In this institution
And I pray, oh my God do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution
And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out what’s in my head
And I’m, I am feeling a little peculiar
So I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What’s goin’on
And I say hey…
And I say hey what’s goin’ on
And I say hey…
I said hey what’s goin’ on
And I say hey…
And I say hey what’s goin’ on
And I say hey…
I said hey what’s goin’ on
Oooh….
25 years and my life is still
trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination

Advertisements

About stemgir1

Scientist, mother, survivor of childhood cancer, diagnosed in 2013 with breast cancer. Lover of life.
This entry was posted in breast cancer, cancer, Grief, healing, inspiration, life, stillness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What’s going on?

  1. ♥♥ L says:

    😢😢😢😢lots of love N – lovely post ♥♥♥♥
    The beautiful song is by Andréa Bocelli – ‘time to say goodbye’ ❤❤❤❤

    Like

  2. ♥♥ L says:

    Opseeee, wrong song! Sorry xx

    Like

  3. Pingback: Hope and Resilience | Things I have learnt today

  4. Pingback: When Believing is Seeing | Things I have learnt today

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s