From a casual school acquaintance, to loved ones, knowing someone with cancer can be a life lesson for all of us. For some, like Ray, they have more than their fair share of people around them going through cancer. Sometimes it's the small things that stay with you the most.
When I was at school a girl in my class called Shelly, who was my Dads best friends daughter, died around the age of 12. She had brain cancer.
A lovely girl who enjoyed life and all her surroundings, I one day didn't give her a lolly
because I was succumbing to peer pressure, I was infant mean. Now with hindsight I should have said yes to her request, little did I know she was not long for this world. Her death was a shock, her parents, well I can only think about their pain. I could have made her life more bearable at that moment in time and I said no. All it takes is a simple kindness.
I never knew Mum had cancer till she let me in after her suicide attempt. Family told me at the time that she was selfish for choosing a path of least resistance.
Mum was alone and depressed and I gave her a hard time for her choice. I learnt about her cancer later when she felt safe to share with me that she had cancer. Mum died in Nelson hospice from campylobacter, a complication as she had a tumor by her heart. A stout and steadfast woman (lady) who was loved and respected by all she knew. My Mum, my confidant, my rest, and the occasional jandal as warranted. A massive loss to me, my daughter, and my sister.
My mate Alex
A Dutchman of fine character and resolve, a level headed man who you knew where you stood, upright or down on the ground as he walked over you. A real cheeky bastard. Always shied from his round.
Alex spent thousands on extending his life when the NZ system told him to die. His courage and commitment to his family, and the never ending care his wife provided for him till the end is just astounding and lovely. A true gentleman whom took NZ film into new realms, much respected and appreciated man of integrity and vision. Alex lent me money, I did pay him back, and the interest was a bottle of bourbon to be drunk together. For a man of Dutch decent that's cheap.
My mate Jack
I met Jack, 30 years ago, Jack was a 5'7" gentle giant weighing over 110 kg of pure muscle, a driller, a redneck, ex mines in Aus, a real hard bugger. Now Jack weighs less than 45kg, a survivor of 2 strokes, throat cancer, and two ex wife's. I don't go around and see Jack much, I'm scared. My mate I feel is dying before my eyes. As I write this I've made a mental note 'Go see Jack on Friday'.
It's a horrible place to be when I think about what I have witnessed but I take solace and a breath in what I have been privileged in sharing with those above in time of need. It's fucking frightening and courageous at the same time. Things I have learnt:
Don't judge, be helpful, hug often with heart, speak openly and be brave, most of all cry. Let this shit out, it fucken hurts....