Saturday, 4 March 2017

A timely reminder.

My first post as an actual 38 year old. It might be a swearier post than usual #sorrynotsorry

The festival of 38 began last weekend, with an impromptu trip into the city for some shopping and some lunch/bevvies at Arbory (if you are in Melbourne, it's a great place to hang on a pleasant day). Wednesday was my actual birthday. I started my new job on that day, then went into town to see The Book of Mormon. If you can, go see it. If you are easily offended, don't see it. It's hilarious, like one of the funnies things I have ever seen.

Thursday, I went to meet with a senior colleague, then went to Highpoint to do some self-gifting before my round.

I was looking at the pretties in Mimco when I felt a text message go off. It was from my ex-husband.

A few of you will know my story- I had been with a fella for 13 years, married for about 6. We grew apart, and the split could be summarised as "good people, married too young, not good together anymore". Our divorce 5 and a bit years ago was reasonably amicable; we were probably more considerate of each other in our divorce than in the latter part of our marriage. He re-partnered soon after our separation, and they have a 3.5 year old.

I had not heard from him in about 3 years. This was not because of any particular animosity; from my end, I always wished them well and thought they were good together. I knew her peripherally before our split. There was just no particular reason to contact him, nor him me. I had often thought about him, like when I go to my sister's house (my ex lives on the Mornington Peninsula also), or when I did or saw something I knew he would like. Any trace of bitterness had passed some time ago. I never trash talked him. There was no reason to.

So when I got his text, I thought "holy fuck, somebody has died".

I rang him up straight away. I was a bit taken aback to hear that his speech was slurred. My first thought was "has he been day-drinking?". My second thought was "holy shit he has a brain tumour, just like his dad" (his dad was diagnosed with a nasty brain tumour just before we got married, and died about 6 months after).

He dropped the bomb - "I've got motor neurone disease"

My stomach lurched. I rushed out of Mimco and said "Shit, Ian! I am so sorry!" I was lost for words, other than the swear ones.

I know what a fucking awful disease that is, so I didn't ask any questions along the lines of "how long do you have". I told him that I had always wanted the best for them and that I was really sorry for them as a family.

I asked after his mum. He told me that she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

I said "well, that's awful, that can just go and get fucked!". Ian laughed.

I asked if I could do anything. Whether I could go and see him. He agreed. I don't know if he will think better of it later but I would like to see him. Bring him some nice beers, before he loses the ability to swallow.

I just wanted to go there and give he and his wife a big hug. I told him as much.

After I rang off, I mindlessly bought the thing I had been looking at in Mimco. I staggered out into my car to go to my round. I felt so sad for him and his family. I took 2 wrong turns to work, and could not bring my a-game once there.

I have paused somewhat for thought over the last few days. How lucky we are to have our health. How stupid it is to worry about a few skin blemishes or extra kilograms. While doing a particularly tough crossfit workout yesterday, I went to a dark place, and pondered just how unfair it is that he should get this disease. I took it out on my snatches and burpees. My grunt/roar at the end of the workout let some of this out.

I have taken mindful pleasure in the little things. The sun on my back, breeze in my face. Watching my dog playing. Enjoying how good food tastes. Why does it take something like this horrible disease to bring us back to this?

I am trying to get my head around it, but I probably will not be able to. All I can do is live as best I can - this has been a bit of a wake-up call to do just this.


  1. So sorry to read this. MNS is so dreadful. One of the women from a writing group I used to belong to has been diagnosed with it too. She has a wonderful daughter who has decided to give up her full time job to become her mother's carer. But not everyone can do this. Another closer friend from my uni days has a brain tumour and is going through chemo and radio therapy. But it's really just a matter of buying a little more time. The treatments alone are playing havoc with her.
    We can ask why? But there are no answers. In these cases, there's nothing friends or family can do except to show love and kindness and do what we can to support.
    It's a lesson to make the most of each day, to be thankful for what we have and for those we love. Take care of yourself. Best wishes, Pammie

  2. There are no proper words to react but am very sorry to hear...

  3. I don't have the write words either, C but thank you for your wise and eloquent words.

    Here if you need a word XX

  4. Oh shit. Really. No words.

  5. Oh wow. What a bombshell. I'm just so sorry. It just seems trite to say anything really... there is never meaning in a situation so sad and the ripple effect it causes. Take care of yourself C xx