Thursday, 8 March 2012

Furiously making lemonade since 1947

It's nine months to the day that a clueless klutz of a registrar made a brutal bollocks of giving C the news of her diagnosis (in an open ward, just before visiting time, naught but a curtain for privacy, no support, etc.), and according to the medical statisticians, she shouldn't really be here now. And although she has had a few bad days this week, unable to keep food or drink down and deeply, if temporarily dispirited, this morning she woke up all perk and painfree, kept her breakfast down, took Kezzy for a walk on the Millennium Green and insisted on climbing Rose & Crown Hill to the community shop to pick up my newspaper as I slugged abed. I'm pretty confident she's going to beat the epidemiologists' odds.

But then again, she should have been dead years ago, perhaps not even born: it started with the car-crash that left her pregnant mother dangling from a branch over a stream by her bra-strap; then her premature birth after her not strictly sober mother fell down stairs; then foetal alcohol syndrome; a fractured skull at three; a tonsillectomy that led to a haemorrhage so brutal that she almost drowned in her own blood; hepatitis B; pyelonephritis; and all that before she got out of her teens. People use words like gutsy, courageous, a fighter, but that doesn't cover it for me: what C has is bloody-mindedness, resilience and a long-held determination – borne out of the bitter experience of others close to her, notably her brother, who was diagnosed with cancer just as he was about to fulfill his lifetime ambition of being a photographer – to follow her dreams and to make the very best of the less arduous parts of a life which has included far more than its fair share of pain and illness (I haven't even mentioned the bulk of it), to pour out tenderness and loving kindness to any creature more helpless and tremblingly vulnerable than herself, and to inspire far more love and devotion in others than she thinks.

So here's a few relatively random pictures from a life that is still being well-lived

Beatnik phase

Leaving for the Harry Bowling Prizegiving
Researching for Up West. Honest

Pet and Bec's wedding, 1983

c. 1980 The schoolteacher years
Aged around 20

Ibiza 1970s

with Toots by the sea c. 1986

Elm Grove 1984

Cork St Vermeer, mid-1990s
Road trip in Kermit

Sweetheart Abbey

Sleeping at the Mansions
I don't know which animal is down there, but I can tell from the look that there is one
Here comes trouble...
With Marc Ennals – I always treasure the photos that showed her ear-rings in flight

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