Today is Vanessa's birthday.
May your birthday be filled with yesterday's memories, today's joys and tomorrow's dreams Ness.
Last year I purchased this Angel Wings Lotus plant on Jeremy's birthday. It was not doing well in a pot on the Al Fresco area; I suggested to Haydn that we put it in the dam. The spot was chosen because it was easily accessible. We then found that it had completely disappeared and we were unable to find even the pot. That was until Spring arrived and the lotus gave birth to new leaves once again! We waited patiently for the lotus to bloom for Jeremy's birthday on 16th November and then again for his Angel Date 21st. We wondered why it was taking its time. What better time than today to celebrate Ness' Birthday. Unfortunately 50ml of rain over the past 24 hours meant taking this picture from afar. I was concerned enough for my own safety that I retreated, camera in hand, when I began to slip and slide down the bank towards the dam.
I first met Ness when I arrived in Bairnsdale in November 2006 to organise Jeremy's Celebration of Life Service. It was there I met this most delightful young woman. Jezz had been telling me about her for weeks. Vanessa's Mum told me that her daughter had been given a new lease on life thanks to my son. Jezz was always capable of giving 'new life' to everything he touched.
It broke my heart to later learn that Ness had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I often reflect on the accident, and the diagnosis, and wonder about the correlation between the two. As a 33 year old Ness endured surgery, chemotherapy and radiation followed by reconstruction in August this year.
Although the details may not be 'perfect,' there are a couple of things that stand out for both of us. The first was the Sentinel Node Biopsy which led the surgeon to nodes deep within the chest wall that were cancerous. Her surgeon even suggested she had angels on her side; she just smiled. Apparently the circumstances were most unusual. A first for him! He said had it not shown up like that he would never have known to remove those nodes and who knows what the outcome may have been. Because of the extent of the surgery Ness was in extreme pain and then had a serious reaction to the morphine being administered.
I later received a message from her taken while undergoing radiation. She said 'Can you believe it? The roof is covered with butterflies. He's always around when I need him.' Maybe it helps that Vanessa means butterfly!
Vanessa is now engaged to be married and has put her treatment, and her disease, behind her. Ness, you will always hold a special place in my heart sweetie; Jezz and I wish you the very best for your future happiness.