A piece of news sometimes can be chucked into your life like a grenade, blasting your reality into a million disbelieving fragments. Your whole being resists it, like water droplets, unabsorbed, on a polished surface. This can’t be happening says your mind. This can’t be true. It is just not possible.
In July 2012 my sister was diagnosed with cancer; non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She had never been sick a day in her life. She was a person full of energy and enthusiasm, unbelievably fit for her age, living life to the full. It just couldn’t be possible that this bombshell could be true, and yet at the same time my sinking heart knew that it was.
The evening before she phoned me with the news I had had what I can only call a premonition. I was in the kitchen cooking supper when out of nowhere a realisation suddenly filled me. It entered my mind with a tremendous impact; a vivid inescapable awareness: my sister might die. It brought tears to my eyes. I gave myself a shake and asked myself what on earth was the matter with me. Where had such a thought come from? I tried to shrug it off but the feeling had been far too intense. It wasn’t even a thought, it was a sudden inescapable realisation.
It was the next morning that she phoned me and told me about the lump she had found. Two days later she was in hospital. I’ve thought back many times to my ‘premonition’. It wasn’t unlike the time many years ago when I lived in Canada and she was in England and I had three successive dreams that she was pregnant. I received a letter from her two days after the third dream telling me just this. She was forty at the time and the pregnancy was an accident and completely unplanned. I had no way of knowing or suspecting it. I was completely floored and got shivers up my back when I read her letter and thought about my dreams. There’s no doubt we had a strong connection and I’m sure that when I had the premonition about her dying I was actually picking up on her own fears. I think she already suspected something but, as was her way, didn’t want to worry anyone.
My sister died on January the fifth this year. I still can’t believe she’s gone. I will never comprehend why or how it came to be. I still have so much anger that fate saw fit to end her life so suddenly. It probably helps if one has some sort of faith, but I don’t; I have no time for conventional religion. I remember at the funeral the vicar saying something about ‘And those who believeth in me shall never die’ and I thought well that lets me out then. I did ask her during her illness if she was frightened of dying. She half grinned at me and said, ‘No, I’m smug enough to think I’ve lived a good life and I’m going somewhere good.’ And if anyone should go somewhere good, she should.
The one thing I shall be forever grateful for was the time I managed to steal with her during that last eighteen months. I flew back to England from France many times and spent many weeks with her. I lost all interest in blogging and all my creative stuff during that time. I just had no incentive or spirit to do it any more. Now I seem to have at last found the need to write again.