Another year over…

The winter solstice passed by ten days ago and in the northern hemisphere, slowly but surely, daylight hours are beginning to increase. Tonight we usher in another New Year and in doing so set this one behind us. Another year over. In less than 6 months the summer solstice will mark a return to darker nights and the cycle – birth and death, growth and decay, dark and light – will continue. That is how our planet works.

At two points in my lifetime our family had five generations to celebrate Christmas and New Year, something of a rarity even in days when families were very large and women typically had children in their late teens or early twenties. Today very few of us remain and those who do are scattered over long distances across three continents.  Family is important to me and I would happily forgo all worldly goods for the opportunity to spend an extra year with lost loved ones, though a year would be insufficient because some were lost at a very young age. Young or old I know that parting again from those held dear would be far too difficult, something I would not relish for a second time so memories and photographs must suffice.

My oldest living relatives, my great aunt and great uncle, are 86 and 89 respectively. I was unable to visit during cancer treatment because I was chemo-pale and sickly, doing my best to avoid infections. They had experienced all that 17 years ago, immediately before they lost their only daughter and I couldn’t countenance this elderly couple bearing witness to the ravages of cancer treatment yet again.  A couple of years on and I’m largely recovered, pass for near-normal and have a functioning immune system. The Christmas break offered a good opportunity to visit and I found that Aunt and Uncle wear time well. They remain largely independent though they’ve both faced many personal health challenges in the last few years. They continue to live in the house they moved in to over half a century ago, the first house to be occupied on their street of brand new houses at the time.  Uncle tells me they are the last of ‘the originals’ on the street, they have seen many people come and go and he has lost his oldest friend in the last few months. Great aunt remains a country girl at heart, the Welsh lakes and mountains are never far from her thoughts and I am sure if she could, she would return there.  Though they’ve been married for 63 years I noticed Aunt continues to call Uncle cariad; he calls her cariad in return. Darling or sweetheart in Welsh. We talk of many things, of our lost loved ones and of those who are still here, of modern times and days gone by. Uncle gives M a bottle of beer and they discuss their favourite brews, he has a J2O for me because Aunt has told him I’m doing my best to take care of my health. We pet their dog (who is also very old at c17 but no-one knows his age for sure – he was rescued). We drink tea and remind Aunt and Uncle to keep warm in the cold weather, stay safe indoors.  The visit passes quickly and when its time to go Uncle takes my hand and says “keep looking after yourself, once there were lots of us but now there are few. We don’t want to lose any more.”  So true.

I wonder if there’s a point in our lives when we come to realise time slips through us quickly, more quickly than we might appreciate? If so, does the realisation change the way we view the world and go about our lives? Perhaps our experiences ordain when that point might be and make it dawn earlier for some than others, if at all?  As ever there are so many questions that seem to have so few real answers. 

Another year over and I think perhaps I have reached the point where I appreciate the value of time, how fleeting it is and how far beyond our control it lies. I also realise, and have done for a while, that I am free. Free from worrying about my pension, what other people think, how I look, whether my health will stay stable or my joints will ever improve.  I realise there is no time to waste which means enjoying the time there is, all of it, in whatever shape or form it takes. That is my mission for 2015, nothing more and nothing less.

To everyone who has followed Fecthis, liked and commented, thank you all – your encouragement and support is truly inspiring. To those who are facing cancer afresh or continue to live with it, I send fortitude, love and compassion. For everyone, I send wishes for happiness, well-being and peace in the year ahead. You are all amazing and you all deserve more time than human form allows.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

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17 thoughts on “Another year over…

  1. Tracy, I have a friend who was just diagnosed HER2 + I told her you’d be more than willing to answer any questions she may have. Her name is Pamela so if you see something from her you’ll know I sent her. ~D

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    • Hi Diane, this disease is so relentless and I’m sorry Pamela has just been diagnosed. I’m happy to help as much as I can, the whole HER2 thing had me really worried initially(too much googling) but I’m here, healthy and as far as anyone can tell the Herceptin did its job. I hope you’re doing OK too Diane, you’re always in my thoughts.

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  2. dear Tracy,

    I am sorry to have taken so long to comment upon this most thoughtful and lovely post. Truth be told, the entire holiday season I felt so blindsided with grief, missing Him, missing the US-ness, with so many memories surfacing, things that were no longer shielded by the pall of shock as they were last year. things are better now – the holidays are mercifully over.

    I am so happy for you being able to make that visit to your great aunt and uncle. how touching it is that they call one another cariad, that they live with such tenderness, and obviously care so deeply for you.

    I think of what you speak about time, about how fleeting it is, and how it behooves us to use it lovingly and wisely and with as much contentedness and gratefulness as our hearts can fill it each day is so truly inspiring. the realization that when our time on this earth is finished and we slip the bonds of the life we’ve lived, the only things we need leave behind is the love we given and shared with others, and that our tiny piece of the planet is left in better fettle than before we touched down upon it. and of course, our stories, those that endure to continue connection through generations that may be either inspirational or cautionary tales! I am striving mightily to live in the NOW, and it makes me so much more aware of the choices I have – in this moment, this very moment how do I choose to think, how do I choose to act? when I slip up, for example feeling annoyed with some minor traffic snafu, more and more I am struck by the thought that, that moment is gone, and not a single thing good came from it – I mea culpa myself…but still…

    this was a beautiful post, a piece to be kept held close to my heart to help me say good-bye to what is passed and feel so much hope for renewal and for living life well, savoring, loving, and being thankful one moment at a time. I wish you and your family all you are hoping for in 2015…

    …with much love,

    Karen xoxoxo

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  3. A very happy and healthy New Year to you Tracy! I always look forward to your posts, thank you for sharing your lucid and calming musings. With peace and love to you and yours…

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  4. Hi Tracy, For some reason I was missing my mom even more than ‘usual’ this holiday season. I found myself thinking about her so often and missing the little things, where as other years I was maybe missing the ‘bigger’ things if that makes sense and I think it might to you… This post was lovely to read. Thank you. May 2015 be kind to us all.

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  5. Pingback: Weekly Round Up: The New Year’s Edition | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  6. It’s always such a pleasure to visit this space and let you take me on a journey through your thoughts. I feel I will be musing on the lives of your two Cariads for a while. While they have no doubt faced the worst tragedy anyone can there’s no doubt that the way they have worked with it is a testament to life the way it should be lived.
    On the issue of time, it’s funny but that very same idea has been running through my thoughts a lot lately, or rather, the true “gift” that is the limits that it has; on how the limits mean that, for us, we need to always choose to act in ways that enhance what we have or, of course, to diminish it, of that’s what we choose (some do–we don’t).
    I’ll leave you with a song that’s been on my mind a lot lately… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P4zi8ljf8A

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    • I have tried for as long as I can remember to understand those who chose to diminish time and/or diminish taking enjoyment from it. It started when I commenced work and met people who hated their jobs, their bosses, their pay. When asked why they put up with they had a million and one reasons why they couldn’t change it. Then as I grew older I found some people have the same complaints about their relationships, where they live, their weight or anything else we might think of and I realised complaining is more important for them than acting to make things different. I still try to understand this kind of behaviour and know what it feels like to believe I’m trapped in a situation (cancer is a great one for making people think that, initially, until they realise it is just another thing to deal with). That’s not to say I’m perfect, far from it! I just can’t bring myself to spend my life miserable or complaining to others and therefore zapping a little bit of sunshine from their lives too. I guess we all have different ways of handling this mortal coil and it would be boring if we were all the same. It doesn’t stop me wanting to help people get themselves out of their perceived chains though. I liked the song Maurice, very fitting I think 🙂

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  7. Inspired writing as always Tracy. The start of a New Year always brings memories of those we have loved and lost. Although they are no longer with us, as long as they are remembered a part of them is always here. May you and yours be blessed with happiness and good health in the coming years. As we all learned some time ago, only people matter, material things do not bring joy.
    Love always. Dad xxx

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    • Thanks Dad. I’ve come to realise that we all live forever so long as the stories are handed from generation to generation, (the scorpions, the Scottish dancing, the flock of hungry geese…) part of all those we hold dear is carried forward by future generations. So, I’m doing my best t o remember the stories and pass them on. I think you said quite some years ago that money and material things can’t be taken with us – so true – which makes the only truly important thing people and nature. Sending you much love and wishes for a year ahead that is healthy, happy and peaceful xxx

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  8. Another lovely dialogue… today was my 5th the dreaded taxotare ..your spirit always inspires me .. i feel so lucky, I am under the wonderful Royal Marsden Sutton .Take care and keep writing.

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    • Know that you are not alone (and not the only one who has dreaded each treatment) but also know that as the saying goes, “this too shall pass.” I wish you continued strength to come through your treatment and a return to wellness throughout 2015.

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  9. Your post brought tears to my eyes – you have stated explicitly how I feel at this new year time. I too have felt the speed of time and thought of so many no longer with us. I have made no resolutions apart from enjoying the time there is and trying to leave the world a better place. Happy New Year – may it be full of good health, joy and peace.

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    • I think if we all resolved to enjoy the time we have and leave the world a better place it would be much improved from its current state. They say never doubt the power of a small number of committed people to change the world so if we try, along with a few others, there’s a good chance it will be better. I wish you a year brimmed to overflowing with all that is good in life.

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