Anniversaries & birthdays

Oxford, England. There's something beautiful around every corner.

Oxford, England. There’s something beautiful around every corner.

August is a month I always have cause to remember.  Aside from the potential for some good, warm summer days and spectacular sunsets it’s a month of anniversaries and birthdays.

Truth be told I would rather forget the anniversaries but they’re indelibly part of me so erasing them won’t ever be possible.  1st August 2012 was the date of my cancer surgery. Since then there’s been no escape from the scar or the events that followed over the course of the next 11 months.   On 13th August 2013 I’ll be creating a new surgery anniversary when I go for a salpingo-oophorectomy in another attempt to reduce future cancer risk.  I’m told this surgery is less challenging than the mastectomy operation but either way my mind was made up over six months ago so I just want to get on with it and put it behind me.

The birthdays in August hold happier memories.  It’s my brother’s birthday today.  He’s 1 year and 364 day’s younger than me and I can still remember him as a young child; all blonde hair, hazel eyes and covered in grass, mud or blackberry stains! Having our birthdays one day apart must have been such a headache for our parents but we always had a good time.    My Great Aunt’s birthday is in three days time.  She is such a sweet lady, in her mid eighties and one of the most lovely people I’ve ever known.  Like me she had one child, my cousin Glenys.  Glen didn’t have an easy life and died far too young, I can only imagine how difficult the loss of her only child must have been for my Aunt.

My birthday is tomorrow and my recollections of myself as a child are missing in action.  I do remember my 21st birthday, a meal with family who were very dear to me. Sadly most are no longer here but the memories that remain are happy ones.  My 24th birthday stays in my mind because it was just a few weeks after my son was born and I really was that proud new mother who idolised her child and spent every day wishing the most perfect and positive future for him.  I still spend every day with the same hopes for him and his future.   I recall being 29 – I’d moved cities and made new friends so was lucky to have some very special people to celebrate with at that point too. Some have gone on to become long-term friends and I’m very fond of them. My 40th birthday didn’t turn out quite as expected, it holds some bitter-sweet memories as things have changed dramatically since then and some of the people who made it special no longer share this life with me.

Last year I was simply happy to be alive and at home; I’d expected to be in hospital recovering from surgery.  Other than being dead, being in hospital is next on my list of least favourite things to do. This year I’ll be at home and in spite of everything cancer treatment has thrown at me I’m doing pretty well.  More surgery is looming but at least this time its my choice to go ahead with the operation and it’s happening after my birthday so there’s no danger I’ll be somewhere I don’t want to be on the day 🙂  I’ll be a year older tomorrow but I feel 20 years older and 200 years wiser if that’s even possible.

By this time next year I’m aiming to feel something like my real age with some light-hearted insights to life, the universe and everything created through happier times and positive experiences… instead of situations I’ve had no choice in – cancer treatment, absent friends and life-changing events.  Creating some new, happy memories started on 1st August with a visit to the dreaming spires of Oxford and an evening with some special friends. Tonight my son’s coming home, I’ll cook for him and tomorrow we’ll spend time together just enjoying each others company while we have the chance.