When we were young
Life can be full of interesting prospects when you are young, and you never come to consider that one day you might become ill and die. But even when you know your cancer is a death sentence, it is important to retain that sense of prospect — that something exciting or surprising is going to come up and bring that childhood joy back into your mind.
Since my diagnosis that my prostate cancer has imbedded tumours in my bones, I have still been able to enjoy happy family moments, and good times with friends. Today I had an email from Barcelona, from a friend who, with his wife and two children, lived beside Dorothy and I in Sunnybank for about 2 years. Climent Nadeu was on a professional exchange at Griffith University in Brisbane. Both Climent and wife, Merce, were often our guests at BBQ’s in the garden and also joined in Dorothy’s Saturday morning walks. We introduced the children, Anna and Paulo, to orienteering and now Anna is still orienteering in Spain some 10 years later.
This is the type of surprise contact after several years that brings out those earlier joys like the memories of our visit to the Nadeu family in Barcelona in 2012 while Dorothy’s dementia was just beginning to show. Of course now as the dementia has progressed she has no memory of that event or indeed very little of her life, but at least she still knows me and every little smile when I visit the nursing home is a reminder of us the Simsons, a young family with many prospects.
Our children have all gone on to be high achievers in various ways and recently in conversation have shared many of the joys they experienced growing up in our family household. Thankfully they have all rallied around to see that both Dorothy, and now me, experience the best of care and support in our terminal years. Jennifer, unfortunately, is now in hospital recovering from the removal of a tumour from one of her kidneys. Neil is my on the spot support with transport, house help and attentiveness to my needs. Scott visited for two days just after my discharge from hospital when I had a nail spike inserted in my left femur in order to keep me mobile, and Arnold and his wife Nusha are always there to offer emotional support from Canberra.
You could say the fun years are gone. Childhood is also terminal. But we can still share the joy from those earlier days and even include snippets in our dreams.
Let us all take joy from when we were young.