Monday, 18 May 2015

JoJo xxx

Dearest JoJo,

It's been almost three days since you left us. I should have written this before now - it has taken a little while to get myself together and find the right words so please forgive me. I'm not sure I will ever have the words to do you justice but I will try my best, petal.

I don't know how to feel right now. Perhaps I should feel angry that this evil disease has taken you away from us, but I mostly feel empty, almost numb. This feeling of numbness is punctuated with overwhelming waves of sadness, which bring with them a physical pain. My heart is heavy in my chest and the tears keep creeping in. It still doesn't feel real somehow - it seems impossible that someone so vibrant and present could suddenly just not be here anymore.

I remember when I first joined the forum last year - you just stood out like a bright ginger beacon. Your desire to help others, to offer advice, laughs and support. Your individual style and grace. Your warped and downright weird sense of humour. I think I fell a teeny tiny bit in love with you. I want you to know that you have made the shitstorm of the last ten months bearable, enjoyable - fun in fact. Which sounds so strange as it has been filled with illness and treatment, but that was you. You brought light to the darkest of times. You found humour and fun in everything. In the short time that I knew you, you have made more of an impact on my life than almost anyone else I have ever known. I feel so privileged that I was able to call you a friend, to be able to love you and have you love me back.

The six of us miss you so very, very much. You've left one hell of a ginger-shaped hole, my sweet. Even though we knew how ill you were, we hoped and prayed that somehow you would recover, get better. That your story would have a happy ending. Because to consider the alternative was too heartbreaking, completely inconceivable. We talk about you all the time. We are so, so happy that we got to spend that day with you in London. It was definitely one of the best days of my life. I was almost sick with laughter. And wine. We talk about all the things that we planned to do. Getting barred from all the bars in the Kings Cross area, a tour of the gay clubs in Brighton, wine on the beach, sitting in a hot tub together in a forest. We still going to do them, JoJo. For you. You won't be with us physically, but you will be there in our hearts and our heads. We will never, ever forget you.
You never wanted to use the words battle or fight during your illness. You were right. This wasn't a battle to be won or lost. If it was, you would still be here with us. I don't know anyone who was so stubborn or defiant in the face of cancer. You haven't lost, JoJo. Cancer didn't win this one. You will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone who knew and loved you, through your art, your music, your blog and the wonderful memories that you created during your short time on this earth.

Until we meet again, my ginger haired beauty.

I love you xxxx

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

One wish

A couple of days ago I came across a video on Facebook. A social experiment in which two strangers sit on either side of a wall and are asked 'if you had one wish what would it be?'.

On one side are those that are healthy, on the other, people with cancer or their family members. The answers that they each give to this question are incredibly different. For this post to make sense to you it is necessary to watch the video rather than have me describe it. You can do this here.

This video struck an emotional cord with me. If you would have asked me this question before cancer, I would have most likely have replied in the same vein as the 'healthy' people in this video. A better job, more money, a bigger flat. Indeed, before cancer I spent a lot of time wishing that my life was different, thinking that having more of something would make me happier. Constantly searching for the one thing that I thought would bring me happiness and fulfillment.

However, the moment you are diagnosed with cancer, everything changes. Nothing else matters. Priorities and focus shifts and the world becomes a very different place. The only thing that is important is staying alive. Whether this is done with a better job, an expensive car or more possessions no longer matters. I no longer care whether I will own my house or will get a better job with a bigger salary. Yes, there are things that I would like to do but ultimately all I want is to be alive this time next year and in years to come. To continue to find joy in the smallest of things. To spend more time with my family and friends. To keep on existing and being. 

I can remember saying to a friend a month or so after I was diagnosed that the one thing I wished for most in the world at that moment was to wake up the next morning and find out I didn't have cancer anymore.

There are lots of things I would wish for right now. To not have the angry cloud of cancer and illness hovering over me. For a guarantee that the cancer is gone for good and will never come back. That this disease did not exist and my friends would not have to suffer from treatment side effects and the anxiety that comes with their secondary diagnoses. That we could be carefree and happy again. That there was a cure.

But if you asked me right now what my one wish would be, I would answer this -

For my friend to get better. 

For my beautiful, bonkers, sweet, clever, kind friend to get better.

Love you JoJo xx