It's been a fair while since I took a little delve into my tiny brain and released some Kathy B shaped thoughts into this peculiar little corner of the Internet. I wish I could say I'd been travelling the world searching for the finest wizardly beard, or getting hideously burnt under a fierce European sun whilst penning a best-selling novel, or engaging in a mighty, month-long spoonfest with a rugged creative type, but unfortunately, I have been doing none of those things. Bugger.
In March, life fed me a spoonful of the big stuff; the biiiiiiig, crazy, 'woah, please don't say this is actually happening' stuff. My favourite person on the entire planet, Granny B, got diagnosed with bowel cancer. Gulp. Considering she had no symptoms and it was caught by chance through routine checks, it was a massive shock to us all which sent me plummeting into a glum, anxious, mascara-stained-face world that I've never really been a part of previously. You all know that I'm a pretty sprightly, optimistic person. I know that the world can be a terrible place and I know that bad things happen and that people get hurt and that good things come to an end. We all go through horrendous, painful, heartbreaking times, and unfortunately these times are an integral part of the human experience. But for the first time in my life, I experienced days where unlike in previous times, I just couldn't find a bright side or a silver lining, or some great, philosophical reason as to why this might be happening. Those positive things that I cling on to during the tough times were just non existent; there was nothing positive about seeing this sharp, funny, vibrant woman laying helpless and confused in a hospital bed. There was nothing positive about thinking that my Grandma, a woman with an incredible presence and influence in my life, might die at the hands of this vicious disease.
I've always strived to keep this blog a light-hearted, jolly little place that showcases my best side; the quirky, witty, half-bizarre and occasionally clever side who can make people chuckle and cheer people up and see the best in a bad situation. As I hadn't been feeling like that person at all, I wasn't in the right place to create my usual calibre of blog posts. I've never been one to create for the sake of creating; I want to enjoy writing my posts as much as you might enjoy reading them, and I want everything that I publish on here to come from a genuine desire to share, not from just a dull, yawning sense that I 'probably should'. Added to this, I was almost scared to write because writing, to me, means acceptance, and until now, I haven't felt up for accepting that any of this was actually real.
And so, for the first time in my life, I took a clean cut break from writing. There's been no blogging, no novel-writing, no poetry, no lyricism, no speedy scrawls on post-its at work. Zilch. Nada. Instead, I threw all of my energy into supporting her, into dealing with this new feeling of absolute hopelessness, and into trying to navigate my way through a daunting situation that scared the bloomin' bojangles out of me. I accompanied my Grandma to the hospital and I promised her that everything was going to be okay, even though I didn't quite believe it myself. I surrounded myself with my lovely chums and spent many evenings drinking whisky and wine and laughing at nothing in particular, trying to escape my own infuriating pessimism. I ate lots of roast beef with my family, wishing that my Grandma's seat at the table wasn't empty. And I probably listened to a few of her favourite Westlife songs more than once and had a good, hearty cry on my bedroom floor.
Granny B underwent major surgery to remove the cancer and ultimately to save her life. I've spent many recent evenings sat with her in hospital, chinwagging about the ways of the world, mutually spying on the occasionally sexy doctors, and generally feeling an overwhelming sense of insane gratitude to the universe for letting her live. There are no guarantees that this will have given us the absolute cure that we so desperately want, but she does now have time on her side. She IS alive. She is still in hospital but at last she's recovering well and she WILL be coming home. She's getting more and more back to herself every single day, which restores within me the certain sense of calm that had taken a bit of a wander. Wow, relief has never felt so good.
I've learnt so much about myself throughout all of this. I've learnt that it's okay not to be okay, and that I can still function as a human and be there for others even when my spirit is so low that I'm almost tempted to break into a Havisham style sob every five minutes. (I know, I know, an arousing thought.) I've learnt the value of human life and that we should make it a conscious task to never take the ones we love for granted. Things do change and nobody is immortal. Spread the love folks. Don't be afraid to show somebody that you care about them; there may come a time where the luxury of being able to do so will be stripped away.
In hindsight, there is now a silver lining to this situation. I've learnt some bloody big lessons. I've discovered a new sadness which will make me treasure happiness even more-so. And when the inevitable happens and a similar situation comes around again (because it shall; a side effect of living apparently), I'll feel better equipped to deal with it, because I know that I can. And on that note, does anyone fancy personifying cancer for me so I can give it one mighty kick in the balls?!
A normal Kathy B service will resume shortly. I can feel it in my bones. Oooooh-la-la.
Watch this space.