Rachel and Sarah

Rachel, June 2011

Ronnie here, standing in while Sarah’s away

Early this morning I took Sarah to Manchester Airport for her plane to New Jersey, to join everybody else there and say goodbye to Rachel. Going there, at the same time and the same terminal, reminded me of a happier day last June, when Sarah set off to go and stay with Rachel and Anthony for a week. Later in the year the two friends both mentioned this magical week, when they published these two parallel posts about each other and their friendship, on the same day, last October.

My Friend Sarah, by Rachel Cheetham Moro

“This year I have spent a lot of time in Liverpool. Yes! The Liverpool of Beatles fame in Northern England. I was surprised to learn that Liverpool’s climate actually rarely sees snow because it’s temperate maritime and the city is a recipient of warm bands of Gulfstream air. So this is why I’ve seen daffodils growing in Liverpool’s parks in February. Spring comes early in Liverpool.

On the deck of the allotment

I’ve meandered down Penny Lane in March and have been a regular visitor to a wonderful public space known as an “allotment”. It’s a kind of cooperative where the good citizens of Liverpool may rent garden plots to raise fruit and vegetables or whatever their inner gardener desires.I’ve clomped around in garden beds and dug for spring onions of all colors, fresh bulbs of garlic, and delicious little new potatoes. I’ve picked tomatoes and cucumbers and wondered aloud what to do with them all. I’ve even picked a pomegranate. A tropical fruit grown in Liverpool? Must be that Gulfstream air.I’ve strolled down flower and tree lined rows of allotments. I’ve shaded myself under an apple tree and I’ve marveled at the bounty of the most beautiful pear tree I’ve ever seen. I’ve sat on the deck of the allotment shed, sharing a picnic and catching the last few rays of summer sunshine and I feel like I never want to leave. Continue reading

Return to me

I am now 16 days into the fifth year of my life ‘since’. Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That dividing line drawn on that day where everything comes ‘after’. Where life changes in an instant. Except you don’t know it at the time. This time of year when the anniversaries come thick and fast – diagnosis, surgery, more surgery… decisions… second opinions…. and so on. The time of year that’s my favourite time of year; the growing light, the signs of spring, our wedding anniversary, and now it’s all messed up – with thoughts of dying.

Because four years later I didn’t know what to expect.

The words from Rumer’s song ‘Take me as I am’ come to me:

“Is there a place where all I’ve lost will be returned to me?”

And that’s what I expected really. That my life post-treatment would be about finding everything that was lost. But over the last months I am finding it’s not about loss… those things are gone, not lost – they are stolen. That’s different. It feels as though they are irretrievable. Continue reading