Fiona on the Sardine Train
Fiona on the Sardine Train

Easter day was marvellous and as I write this travelling North on the train in the sunshine I get to reflect on the wonderful day spent with family. It started with a church service at St Andrews Parish Church in Evesham which carried all the meaning, ceremony and touches of light humour needed to engage a congregation and bring meaning to such a wonderful day commemorating the risen Christ. My stepfather David attended with me and was on good form in this church full to capacity. Mum elected to stay behind to cook an Easter lunch for her guests. Not me. Isla and Rob were coming around with wee Archie and bringing Rob’s Mum, Dad and Sister too!

Back from Church I cleared away all my not so waterproof waterproofs, boots and gloves soaked on the walk on Saturday but now crisp and dry then did whatever I could to help but all was squared away. Shortly after, the party started and before we knew it Isla, Rob and I were engaged in telling Mum tales from the holiday in the Lakes and cuddling Archie while Mum made the final preparations in the kitchen for lunch. Then Chris, Hazel and Jen arrived, Easter eggs exchanged, a pot of tea made and the conversation broadened and resumed. It was fun, light hearted and wee Archie centred. I had my phone in my pocket having just removed it from my jacket while changing after church and it buzzed to lighten my day even further. Heather had sent me a comment on the facebook post I had written about being hit in the face by the prognosis during an unguarded moment. For some reason it took a while to come through on the phone but it came. I snuck out to check the phone and saw it was a comment on facebook about the post. I opened it with some trepidation as to what Heather’s reaction would have been on such an emotional post and prayed that what I was about to see was not a daughter struggling with our circumstances. We had had the discussion about the nature of this disease during that tearful conversation on the canal boating holiday and in which I promised her that whatever happens in the future that I would always stay close by. Then the poem I wrote for them as our separation loomed close was clearly understood by them both. That whatever happened I would always stay close by. So those moments coupled with the recent and joyful visits to my flat by them both meant that I was confident that the children were now happy and looking towards a bright future rather than worrying unduly about me. Besides Heather has told me quite clearly that ‘she doesn’t read the posts Dad. ‘They’re faaaaaaaaaar tooooooo long. You need to make them shorter!!’’ But this day, as I clicked on her message I felt nervous. I shouldn’t have been because what I found on the facebook page was a huge long list of the most wonderful comments made on the post and at the bottom; Heather’s comment. Very simply 3 large red hearts in a line. My own heart leapt for joy that Heather was not only not unhappy but instead expressing, in her own wonderfully simple way, her love and respect for her Father. This was better than any Easter egg that she could have ever given me. So I responded, ‘My darling Heather, Of all the wonderful comments made above that have given me much comfort and strength, yours is the one that brought joy to my heart. Thank you and Happy Easter. Lots of love. Daddy xx’ Heather responded wonderfully, ‘Yay have a good day!!xx’ This was now officially the best Easter ever. I returned to join the party with a slight tear in my eye.

Lunch was an incredible spread of coronation chicken, ham, a green salad with seeds and pine nuts, a mango, avocado salad, a potato and cheese warm salad, then followed by a chocolate biscuit cake decorated in an Easter theme with chicks and bunnies. Being the child I sometimes forget I am no longer, I couldn’t help myself but move the bunnies around to reflect bunnies doing what bunnies do in Spring then got scolded for testing one of the chicks mini eggs but the delicious cake was wonderful. After lunch my phone buzzed again with another wonderful message, this time from Marion Wilson, ‘She is beautiful. And clearly is inside too’ That charming comment captured my very thoughts on Heather that day and brought me back fired up for more conversation.

We talked and talked and before we knew it it was early evening and time for our wonderful guests to go home. I was stunned that time had gone so fast and still felt great after such a long period of conversation. An activity that used to tire me very quickly as the brain navigated the many levels of the social structures, norms and expectations that good conversation demands. In fact it is an excellent cognitive/motor function activity and so apparently I did an awful lot of it and just when I thought I was going to get a ribbing for being over enthusiastic about all the wonderful things I have experienced over the years with the children I received instead two beaming smiles from Mum and Isla as they hugged me and congratulated me on the leap forward in my cognitive endurance witnessed since I was last with them both socially around Christmas. This was now officially the best Easter ever!!

As I head North in preparation for my quarterly scan tomorrow I do so happy that I have happy and confident children and confident that we will continue to show a very slow rate of shrinkage, but further shrinkage none the least. God willing we will beat the beast!!

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father who loves us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good deed and word.

Hope you all had a great Easter and maybe even as good as the very entertaining Fiona Wilbert with whom I had a highly entertaining conversation as we played sardines in a wildly over-packed train post her wildly overindulgent day with friends. Fiona found the phrase Beat the Beast, oddly, rather entertaining but promised to go and pour a glass of wine and watch a video!!

Yours aye