I had been very very ill over a period of a few weeks recently and the last week was not the cancer per say, although no doubt a large contributing factor. No, rather it started with a little sore appearing on my top lip which, and no evidence to support this, soon developed into what appeared to be a chest infection that left me completely debilitated and in bed for most of the week and left me almost completely helpless.
I had been taken to see the oncologist the previous week by S-i-L Peter who drove all the way down from Northampton and it was really good to see him and it also gave him the chance to come in and listen to what was going on, which is good, saves me remembering to report back to the inquisition that is Marie :). While there I mentioned the visit to the opticians who had found lesions on my eyeballs and of course this triggered the thought process with little 'Olly' that maybe a brain scan would be in order to check if the cancer was spreading up, I'm sure there was a little voice over my shoulder commenting well if it has, it wont find anything else up there.....
So, on Wednesday, the following week, Jen, S-i-L Steve, Shannon and Lacey May arrived from Woking as I was still in no fit state to do anything for myself and Steve took me to Hospital for my scan to see if there is a brain, sorry, if the cancer has spread up there.....
Mollie, didn't come and was so distraught, why, you ask? Well she is 11 and we love each other dearly and remember she is the first of our grandchildren so it is fair to say that the bond between her and us and me is a little bit stronger although I do hasten to add I have absolutely no favourites when it comes to the 5 of them but Charlie you are going to get a kick in the bum one of these days if you don't get it. We are men Charlie, it is one of our roles in life to go shopping with the women in our lives, whether we like it or not, the sooner you realise that the better, so get with the programme kid...... Oh, and cash management Charlie, you either have enough to buy the game you want, or you don't. If you don't have it this week, you get your allowance the next week as long as you get your chores done. Save what you have and add to it the following week so that you can buy your game and stop being a tit, leaving it in your pocket contrary to popular folklore, will not make it burn a hole in it, seriously.....
Any-hows, back to Mollie and her crisis. I have tweeted that Mollie, turning 11, has now moved from primary school to high school and Mollie being Mollie has made the transition without flinching or any sort of trepidation and has fitted in so comfortably that she just can not get enough of it. In fact now that she has settled in and homework being a big part off schooling here she loves that too and while the homework given out is normally not due for a few days or even the following week, thereby giving the pupil plenty of time to study, research and complete, Mollie by all accounts come in each day with her assignments and immediately sets her self up in either her room or at the dining room table and gets stuck in to it immediately, how cool is that.
So, I get a phone call from Jennifer to say that she had just gone up to Mollies room after they had had a family discussion to say that they were all coming over to visit on a school day, so that dad,
S-i-L Steve could take granddad to hospital. Obviously Shannon and Lacey Mae were delighted at being taken out of school but as it turned out Mollie, while desperate to visit, as she always is, informed her mum, that she had a test the following day and really wanted to take it and didn't know what to do!
My answer was simple, tell her I am ill but I am not yet ready to die and that it was important that she go to school and sit her test and to do the best that she could do and that I would still be here when she came visiting the following week. It wasn't a problem and we always have face time and Skype to keep in touch with each other as we do.
So, Mollie, dear dear Mollie, this is for you.
We have always encouraged you to be the best that you can be. Your are small, tiny and petite. All of your school aged friends tower above you, but you have the heart, brain and intellect of a giant and this is because you are inquisitive and curious about everything, you like your little (big) sister Shannon were always reading well above your age group and your teachers were forever commenting on this. I remember you telling me one day that when your teacher asked what you were reading when you were about nine she was amazed to learn that you had just read Beowulf by Seamus Heaney and that you were getting ready to read To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, you never do go for the easy stuff and you still don't. I love browsing in the bookshops with you.
It is this willingness to tackle the hard stuff at so early a time in your development and to love the process of learning that you do, that made you feel so sad about not coming to see me when I was so ill, but on the other hand this made me so happy as it shows that you both care so much for me but also in the need to be tested on all the new things and subjects that you are learning in your new school. You made the right decision and you should know that I and Grandma and your mum and dad support you and love you for being who you are and for being the caring loving daughter and granddaughter and human being that you are and will continue to be for the rest of your long life.
I made you a promise recently; about how long I was going to hang around before popping my cloggs. I know, that you know, that not all promises made can be kept and you know I will try and keep that promise but that I may not be able to. You are wise enough to understand that, and I know that you are going to be heart broken when the time comes to say goodbye forever, But when that day finally comes you will find it incredibly hard to move on and get over it, BUT YOU MUST. Remember all the good times and there are thousand of photographs of you and your sisters and your cousins (ok, I admit it now, I was and am a pain in the butt with my camera, but I love you all too much not to always be taken snaps of you and I won't stop until, well whenever) and you will have these forever with loads of them with me in them too, to remind you forever of our special bond.
You will need the support of mum and dad and grandma and aunty Marie and uncle's Peter and Brian and your sisters and cousins will be sad too and you as the eldest will need to be really strong to support and help them through that dark period ahead, as your friends Ewan and Holly and others will help you through it and to move on.
Moving on isn't forgetting and not being sad, you are allowed to be sad, But, it is about coming to terms with the cycle of life, knowing one day that those you love will pass on and no longer be part of your life, but we can still be part of your existence. You can call on and recall the good times and the life lessons, the books and the TV and films and the news that we discussed and talked about. You can recall the first time I gave you a sweet when we were walking back from the shops and you asked me what it was called and I replied it was a 'Big Purple One' and you replied, "I'm in purple heaven granddad". This made me smile and still does as I recall it now.
You can remember when we took Lacey Mae and Shannon to the theatre to see their first musical, The Lion King and Granddad crying like a baby when he saw the absolute look of joy and happiness on Lacey Mae's face when that curtain went up and how she sat there laughing and smiling and clapping for the whole performance and granddad was so happy to be alive to see that joy and happiness on all your faces.
The look on your face when you got your first hot towel on your first visit to an Indian restaurant at the end of the meal, I will never forget these moments Mollie and you should remember them when feeling a bit sad too, they will make you happy and sad again, but I think more happier than sad....
My life has been pretty good Mollie. I met Grandma in Berlin in 1974 and we got married two years later. We had three wonderful children in Marie, Jennifer and Brian. Aunty Marie and your mummy Jennifer gave us you and your sisters and Charlie and Holly and we have been blessed having you all in our lives along with your dad Steve and Uncle Peter.
So, the whole point of this Mollie Ing is tell you that I will always support you in your decisions and your decision to stay at home and go to school was the right one. Your education is the most important thing right now. You should never stop the learning process. Some people will tell you that a good education isn't the be all and end all and that you can get on in life without education. that may be true for a small minority in the world but what they don't tell you is that while they might not have the academic qualifications because they do possess an intellect and drive that propels them to be successful in their endeavours and their lack of educational qualifications was probably due to boredom brought about by poor teaching methods, that does happen, or they just weren't getting challenged enough in the learning process. You on the other hand don't seem to get bored with any of the new subjects that you are learning at your new school and you have always enjoyed the schooling process and you always seem to benefit from having good teachers willing to impart their knowledge to you, helping and encouraging you through the various curriculum's. Stay on that road Mollie learn, learn learn, be the smartest and brightest star in the school and you will be able with your drive and ambition to achieve anything you want to in the future and I will be somewhere looking down and smiling and enjoying your successes for all time
Love you chuckles xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx