I hope I didn't make you all miserable last time reading about my fear of the future! I'd like to share with you a time when a young man called Richard entered my life and made a huge impact!
It's a sad story (it must be the time of year that's making me a tad more subdued than usual!).
It was my first evening in hospital waiting for my brain operation to remove a tumour and I wanted to say goodnight by phone to Arf. The phone in the dayroom was being used by a young man so I waited on the other side of the room until he'd finished his call. He put his head in his hands and I could see he was shaking. I gently tapped him on his shoulder and asked if he was alright. He just muttered "No!" and carried on crying.
Apparently it was his birthday and his operation to remove a brain tumour had been cancelled. He was frightened and alone! I just held him and let him cry and told him it was OK to be scared and that I was in the same boat - waiting for my operation! We sat down, talked, and had a coffee together. He was scared that his personality would change as the tumour was near the front of his head. I held his hand, looked him square in the face and said, "If you have your operation first, I'll come and see you and give you a hug!". He thanked me for being so compassionate - but who wouldn't have done the same thing given the circumstances?
The friendships we made in the hospital were intense as all of us in those couple of wards faced a very uncertain future. Word about patients travelled fast! So when I heard that Richard had come through his operation (I was still waiting for mine!) I went to find him. One of the other men in his ward told me that Richard was in pain and quite depressed, so I called out, "Where's my beautiful boy, then?". He was sitting on the wide windowsill staring out at a grey sky, but turned, and a huge smile lit up his face!
His first words were "Sandie! I'm still the same, I haven't changed!". We hugged and everybody clapped!
He went on to have radiotherapy every day for a month. He dropped in on me after my operation and gave me a small painting of the Yorkshire Dales - my favourite place - each time telling me his personality hadn't changed and how grateful he was! Then I came home and we kept in touch by phone!
Sadly, the cancerous tumour grew back and he died 18 months later. He was only 30 years old. My memories of him are warm and sweet. He was brave and I'll never forget him.
Sometimes people enter our lives only for a short time, but they leave an everlasting touch on our hearts. Sandie xxx