Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I am Where I am

'I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.'
-Roy Croft

Maybe the next few posts will not be riveting reading for all; for those that stay with me on this journey I expect it will take us in several directions.  My approach to life has always been rather eclectic, as I use a variety of methods to allow me to 'deal with' any challenge/task. I do hope that writing these posts will provide some clarity in my life.

I know about 'soul' searching having done quite a bit lately. As a result, I feel as if I have reached a fork in the road. I am painfully aware of 'taking myself wherever I go' which makes it difficult to 'avoid' pain and suffering should it is my own. Many of you know, and understand, the depth of feelings developed over time with fellow bloggers; they become life altering. One such blogger is Brenda @ Breast Cancer Sisterhood who writes poignantly of the death of her precious James on 26th December, 2010. Brenda, writes of the love she and James share and has written in such a way as to open wounds that I felt had been put to rest.

When I married my late husband Ray in 1967 little did I know he would show me the meaning of 'unconditional' love. During our 27 years together I enjoyed the privilege of being loved and accepted, in spite of my many faults. At the time Ray was diagnosed with a brain tumour it was necessary to leave our squash and fitness centre to allow him to undergo surgery in Melbourne. Damian, who was about 18, along with a close personal friend Marianne Hocking stepped up to the task. Jeremy, our 7 year old, with farmed out to the most amazing family. Leaving him with the Allen family enabled me to spend 18 weeks with Ray during his neuro and thoracic surgery. The procedures took much longer than expected. Ray was paralysed down one side as a result of the first operation. Rehabilitation was required before he could undertake surgery to remove the tumour on his lung. The lung tumour was discovered during testing for the brain tumour. We survived that period and, somehow, I was able to spend every day, and most nights, by Ray's side. The nurse's quarters became my 'home' away from home. Thankfully, Mum had travelled from Dubbo to be with Ray and me after his initial neuro surgery. She then headed up to Lakes Entrance where she was made to feel welcome by some of our close personal friends.

Four years later Ray went into a coma; it happened suddenly. Jeremy helped me to carry his Father into the bed he shared with me. I phoned my Mother in Dubbo who agreed to catch the train that very day. Mum's presence allowed me to climb into bed beside my darling Raymond. I stayed beside him in the bed for the last five days of his time on earth. At times we were visited by loving family and friends; loved ones that had come to say their goodbyes. I remember that time well! I often feel guilty thinking of things I had done prior to that time. Things I am not proud of. I ask Ray's forgiveness.

I recollect so well the sense of peace that came from sharing the journey; it seems I was led. There are lasting benefits to sharing a love which is timeless; a love in which I feel treasured/secure. There is no room for jealousy, there is only pure love. With love all things are possible.

To meet and to part is the story of life; to part and to meet is the glory of life


Kaz said...

Chez I know that you loved Ray with all your heart and soul and he knows that,he loved you just as much.not even sure what to write here but one thing sweetie don't be hard on yourself Ray knows and wouldn't want you to be.xoxo

Alli said...

Cheryl my dear,
I have never believed in unconditional love. I truly believe there are conditions placed on everything we do act and feel.
IMO dear friend I feel you need to let go of the past a little more and concentrate on the here and now. This is what affects you, your current not so much of your past apart .Keep those as treasured memories some of us are fortunate to know that one special love..Others have a difficult time relating.
As the poster above said, Stop being so hard on yourself, Your late husband would not want to see you in this place....There is still so much to do out there. Love Alli.XXOO

Beth L. Gainer said...


This is a beautiful, poignant posting about a true love. We all have failings, and no one is perfect.

You did a lot to help your husband, and that speaks volumes. It's easy to focus on grief, but at the same time, we just must go on living.

By sharing your story, you are helping so many in the world. I am grateful to have come across your blog.

Diane Rodgers said...

"To meet and to part is the story of life; to part and to meet is the glory of life"

WOW ...I so love this quote....It sums it all up in a very few meaningful words...

My dear Cheryl...You and Ray shared a love many others never have....of course it wasn't perfect as none of us are perfect...Ray is in that place now where all is forgiven and all is love....God's purest agape love is all that dwells in his heart now for sure! We must all learn to forgive ourselves for our own shortcomings if we are ever to go forward in this life.

It is a hard lesson to learn ...with the help of one another ...the encouragement of one another ... we will go on to do whatever it is we are called to do...

The way you so lovingly speak to others, Cheryl....this is the way you have to speak to yourself!

I am praying all of your tests come back well and you will be healthy and whole...

Love to you as always,

nancyspoint said...

Chez, I am very moved by your story of that special love you shared with Ray. I feel I have learned a lot about you. I hope it "heals" you as you write and share it. I truly believe writing heals as well as enlightens others. Keep sharing these bits and pieces of your life, maybe that will help you let go of some of your pain and likewise find more peace. I'll follow your journey.

Diane Rodgers said...

Cheryl...I was thinking again on this blog you posted....the five days you laid beside your husband....the last five days of his life on earth....this was a gift to the both of you ... a time shared in the very deepest sense ... thinking on this I feel so happy you had that special sacred time together to hold on to forever...a beautiful memory to keep until you meet again.

God bless you my dear friend ... you have inspired me along with so many others be the very best we can be at the time our loved ones need us the most.

Talk soon ....and waiting to hear about your tests results with you.


rama said...

Dear Cheryl,
You have gone through so much in your life. I am so glad you shared your experiences with us, we get to know what a loving person you are, and as for unconditional love, you too have plenty of that.
As one of your friend said this writing and sharing things with all of us about your life is a perfect therapy,and I am glad you chose to do it. It will give you lot of happiness and also help you release all those things that need to be released.
Never feel regret for your past actions, you did what felt right to you at that time. We are prone to commit mistakes, so that from them we eventually learn a lot.
You write so well, I really like you.
Keep writing and always be happy.

Maundering mutterer said...

I didn't know this about you. What a sad history. Good, beautiful things in the sadness like being there for your late husband in his last days. Isn't life odd for mixing beauty and tragedy so?

Chez said...

Kaz my thanks to you sweetie. I do believe that we all do the best that we can, given where we are at, and yet at times it does not seem to be enough. Love and friendship my friend xo

Alli, I do believe that both Ray and Jezz offered me unconditional love. I write these posts not because I live in the past, rather because they are the reason that I am where I am. They also serve as reminders for future generations that they may get to know me through my writings. This is about their great grandparents, grandparents etc. Future generations that do not yet know me.
Love and gratitude xo

Beth, your kind words are greatly appreciated. If nothing else, those reading these posts can leave it all here, or take away anything that may allow them to live their lives in a deeper, more meaningful way.
Love and thanks to you.

Di, it is interesting that you have suggested the possibility that I may be less kind to myself than to others. I suspect you are right my friend. I believe that the time spent with Ray was a gift. It has become a treasure I carry with me at all times and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do it in that way. I don't think Ray ever doubted my love for him.
Sending all my love to you my friend. Test results will soon be in. In the meantime I sit patiently and wait. Love Chez xo

Nancy, your comments are always appreciated. I enjoy the wisdom of your words. I do not believe I live with guilt knowing I did something that not a lot of others get the opportunity to do. I tell my 'story' mainly as a record for future generations and also in the hope that we can all learn from one another. It is these lessons that have brought me to where I am now. There is a reason we are going in this direction. All will be revealed over the next few posts, providing I do not digress too much.
Love and friendship to you, as always xo

Rama it is sweet of you to say that. Writing is wonderful therapy and can be such a useful tool for both writer and reader. I believe I have found the best outlet for my grief in writing. It all began with Jeremy's Memory-of site and has followed on from there. I survive my illness and gain strength from the many 'virtual' friends that have come into my life.
Thanks for joining me here xo

MM when put that way, it allows me to see the beauty in death. The experience changed my views on so many things and I believe the experience allowed me to 'grow' as a individual.
My thanks to you xo