I have to start this week’s entry with a huge thank you. I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of people who have been visiting the blog lately. It’s due partly to a Grazia article and partly to a Facebook and Twitter campaign initiated by lovely friends and supported by lovely strangers.
When an email pops into my inbox to alert me to a new comment it’s like opening a gift; I have no idea what it’ll say, but the surprise almost always turns out to be a good one; more TOWIE box set than socks! (The former being a very good thing, by the way…)
My years of working in TV news may have hardened me slightly to the world; a relentless procession of horror stories giving the impression that the majority of our planet is made up of murderers, paedophiles and dodgy politicians. Then I find myself in a position where the opportunity for kindness presents itself far more readily and my own personal newsflash makes me realise that there are so many compassionate and considerate people all over the shop – or reading my blog at least.
By the same token I can’t help but be influenced by all of this generosity of spirit. At the risk of being perceived as both sentimental and worthy, a life threatening illness has got me thinking about who I am, how I treat people and what I want to be remembered for.
When you’re surrounded by kindness it’s hard not to give it back. I could write a huge list of all the thoughtful things friends have done for me since cancer came a-knocking; sending me flowers when I’ve been feeling down, bringing food round when I was too ill to cook, cutting my hair short when it was all falling out.
We have an 88-year-old neighbour called George, whose wife of 65 years passed away a year ago. He has no family so at least once a week I’ll go and sit with him for an hour just to have a chat. The other day I saw an elderly lady at the station looking confused as she stared at the tube map. I asked her if she was ok and directed her to the platform she needed; before cancer I’m pretty certain I would have rushed on by, caught up in my own concerns.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to claim I’ve become Mother Teresa; it has just given me more opportunity to reflect on the way we treat each other. Some people instinctively have this caring gene; one particular friend is the kindest person I have ever met – he volunteers to mentor young people, gets involved with his local community and is just so full of loveliness I wonder how he does it.
Then there’s the kindness of strangers; a beauty editor who stumbled across my blog sent me a bag full of expensive make-up; one of my dad’s friends who I’ve never met sent me a pendant that he would hold while praying for me – now I wear it every day; a church group that my mum’s husband’s parents are part of say prayers for me every week. These are people I have never even spoken to.
And finally there’s the camaraderie of fellow cancer sufferers. The knowing smile that you exchange with the bald woman in the hospital pharmacy who for some reason senses you know exactly what she’s going through. The resounding cheer from a room of five nameless chemo patients when on the fifth attempt the nurse finally inserts the cannula into your hard-to-find vein.
There’s so much goodness out there and sometimes we forget that. I’m just a bit pissed off it took me getting cancer to really realise it!