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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

More Fool Them!

It looks as if I will not be able to go to the funeral tomorrow, and although I was initially upset at this, as the days have gone by, I no longer mind. I think I realised in the end that I wanted to go for the wrong reasons - to find out a little more perhaps about her life and what had led her down that road, when it should have been about paying my respects. I do not need to attend a funeral in order to do that, for I did that for her while she was alive, perhaps during the most critical phase of her life - right at the very end. In the end there is no greater honour than to do that for another person.

I have been thinking of her these past few days and know that she is still around, and acknowledging the role that I played during those final weeks, and that in the end is what counts. She would understand that my lack of presence does not mean a lack of respect.

On another note, last Friday I finally said a farewell to the Box Hill News when my final issue was delivered to our printer. It was a strange feeling as the handing over was delayed for a day due to some issues with our printer, and also because the Church vestry where the BHN printer is located has been taken over as a temporary storage area while the adjoining Church hall has some building work done - namely, a new kitchen. When the printer finally did come to collect it was a strange feeling to know that this was the last time I would ever do this, and see him in this capacity. Still, in a village this size, I am sure I will continue to see the rest of the team around the Hill and we will I am sure remain in touch. I cannot though say that I am sorry after the the fiasco that has become the Olympics, to let it go.

The tickets for the Road Cycling Races went on sale this morning, and in typical LOCOG stance, I received an email from the Friends of Box Hill, who were involved in the consultation process, undertaking surveys with LOCOG re the environmental impact of the games, to say that even they would not receive complimentary tickets. Mind you, from the limited information I have been able to dig out of them, access for villagers will not be easy, as according to the official website, the entry zones for ticket holders are via Dorking mainline or Box Hill railway stations, both of which due to road closures, will for residents require a 7 mile walk to get to, followed by 3 more miles to walk back up the hill. All that for a journey that should take no more than half an hour. What a shambles!

Our piece in Cycling Weekly came out last week and although it was short and sweet, it said it like it was, as does my outgoing piece detailing the reasons for the cancellation of the Olympic special in BHN. One thing's for sure, it will certainly give all those gossips something new to talk about - apart from April Fools that is - all I can say is, more fool them!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Four deaths (and maybe a rebirth), again ....

May is shaping up for both Coran and I to be one hell of a month - marred by what seems like one problem after another and chronic tiredness for both of us. The weather does not help, and I am quite certain that if I could experience just a little sunshine, it would make one hell of a difference.

It seems like forever since I wrote this blog. It is not for the want of trying on my part. I have thought about it several times, but the words just didn't seem to come. A sign of depression if ever I saw one.
When I think back on it, it all started with that note from the boss back at the beginning of April, but the signs were there a long time before that things were not all that they seemed. Truth be told, work although it has not helped, is really just the tip of the iceberg, and just another stresser to add to the pile. The trouble is, several little things, when put together, add up to make one big thing, and everything seems to have just snowballed at once. It all just seems so very overwhelming, and several times I have found myself retiring to the toilet at work to sit and have a bloody good cry. Reiki breaks have also become a lot more frequent in recent weeks. A lot of people I know seem to be going through something similar, and I suppose knowing this should help, but somehow this time it seems not to.
At the end of April Coran and I were forced to cancel the Olympic edition of the village newsletter that we had spent months planning a little under 2 weeks before the copy deadline. It was a combination of many different things, which although seemingly small, added up to make one big thing. Internal politics with the rest of the committee played a part, but the final nail in the coffin was the reaction to my April Fool and the abusive calls I received, which made it abundantly clear that the villagers are not behind the Games and do not want an Olympic issue. Communication problems with LOCOG (Locally Organised Chaos Optimisation Group) did not help either, as they made it impossible for us to sell it anywhere other than the outlets that we already use, seeming to put up barriers everywhere that we looked. In the end, given the lack of response from villagers (I had been asking for articles for months, and received just two in all that time), it became clear that to continue would be counter productive. Something in short had to give before I did, and that something proved to be the Olympic issue. 
To say that I am sad about this is an understatement, as I estimate that between the two of us, Coran and I had spent in excess of 100 hours work on this issue. We had always known that we would be expected to shoulder the bulk of the work, despite assurances from the rest of the team that they would help, so it was no surprise to find that they came up with plenty of ideas but provided nothing to back them up with. We had so many hopes and plans for this issue though, which was to be my last - we managed to talk a professional journalist into helping us, and even got Sebastien Coe to write the foreword, but it was not to be.
The aforementioned journalist commented in the aftermath of this that the village people (village idiots more like) do not deserve us, and I believe that he is right. We did an interview (more of a comment piece really) with him last week to be published in the magazine that he works for, and I look forward to seeing a copy when it comes out this or next week.   
At the same time that all of this has been going on, Coran hurt her back. I am not sure how it happened, but one day she was bending down in the shower to pick up the soap, and it just went. She thinks now that it may have been due to the most recent anti tetosterone injection, which may have inadvertently hit a nerve, since the pain seemed to emanate from the exact same region where the injection was administered. Given that it contains a slow release gel, one would expect it to take several weeks to show up, and the pain seemed to develop almost exactly three weeks later.    
Twice though I had to call an ambulance in the middle of the night, and twice I has to take time off work. The staff were of course wonderful and very supportive, but this does not make up for the stress or the lack of sleep. After having been up all night, and finally leaving the hospital at 9am, I remember commenting to Coran that I was surprised  I did not feel more tired. Then it dawned on me, that tired had become my normal state, to the extent that I no longer recognise when I am tired. This really made me stop and think about the effect that my job has on me, and yet I am still loathe to give it up.
Why you may ask yourself is this - the reason is because it makes such a difference to the lives of so many different people, and is the most rewarding thing (in terms of everything except money) that I ever done.  If you want proof of this, one of our residents passed away last weekend, and a week before she died, I sat with her for 10 minutes stroking her hand and talking to her. She turned her head (she was lying in bed) and looked at me, straight in the eye and smiled, and I felt this surge of energy move towards us as both of our hearts opened simultaneously at the same time. We did not need to say anything, as each of us instinctively understood what was taking place, an exchange of pure heart energy, of compassion and unconditonal love.
This particular lady who was only in the home for a short while (about 10 weeks), seems to have had a really deep effect on me, and I still cannot figure out why and what the connection was, for it is clear that there was one. There seemed to be this sense of recognition almost from the first time that I saw her, almost like meeting up with a long lost friend. I don't know whether she was someone from a former life perhaps, but whatever it was, she has really left her mark, for I was very, very upset when she passed away. 
I have never done this before, but I really felt the need to say goodbye to her in person, so I sneaked into her room, where the body still lay, kissed my hand and placed it gently on her brow and whispered some words of goodbye to help send her on her way. It was distressing in some ways to do that, to see her there lying cold and stiff, with yellowed flesh (apprently this is normal with frail and elderly people) and she was both of these, but I am glad that I did it, for I really felt that I needed to do this. As the day wore on, I kept smelling the perfume that she used to wear, and that I believe was also her, acknowledging what I had done for her, and letting me know that she was watching me, and was making that transition to another place, where she was no longer in pain.   
This lady though seems to have a particularly interesting life. She was married at a young age to a Baron no less, and her son through that marriage went on to inherit the title, after many years of being an MP. He now sits in the House of Lords and is also ironically on the Board of LOCOG. I did not get to meet him in person as he always visited when I wasn't there, but I got to know his sister a little, and some of June's friends (she had the same name as myself, even more ironically, or perhaps not). 
I do not know if I will ever understand what the connection was that she and I shared, but she does seem to have effected me greatly during the short time that she was there. What surprised me more than anything was the fact that her family seemed so upper class and posh compared to myself and those that I know, yet June herself did not seem like this. She seemed very down to earth, and despite her ill health and fraility, very, very lucid. She knew exactly what was going on around her, and she also knew exactly who I was. She gave us a few scares, and at one time the family even called a Priest to adminster the last rites, but she always seemed to bounce back. I remember saying to her that she and I were the same, both fighters, and she looked right at me, smiled and nodded her head. She knew then who I was and why I was there, even if I did not, and in the end perhaps it does not matter. If the opportunity does arise, I would though like to attend the funeral to say a final farewell and also to find more out about her life. If I am meant to go, then the opporutnity will be there.
This was in fact the first of several deaths this week - we have since had two more, both on the same day. Neither affected me nearly as much as this first one, since I did not really know the other two ladies, one had been with us for a week, and had terminal cancer. Three deaths in as many days does though affect the energy of the home, when most are already under stress. I just hope that the weather improves  before my trip to the Isles of Scilly in three weeks, as right now, this is about the only thing that is keeping me going.