"Today, my post is a celebration of life. Two figures instantly come to mind, the birthday of our 90 year old monarch Queen Elizabeth and the comedienne, Victoria Wood who died yesterday. Both can rightly be said to have been part of the British institution. I met and spoke with both women in the 1990s, the Queen for a few minutes when she presented me with a medal at Buckingham Palace and Victoria for around an hour at the home of a friend. I expected to find the Queen formal, but didn't, and Victoria somewhat jokey instead of very serious. It is life's mystery how one person can die long before their time while they still have much to do, while another possesses the constitution to go on and on and on, God bless her Majesty. Long may she live.
After a cold winter I curl closer to May, comforted by her warmth and in the sure knowledge that her blossom will pleasure my eyes. For the past month, a bad chest which refuses to leave me has effectively kept me housebound, and I long for that freshness that being inside can never bring. I am also looking forward to my holiday in Crete at the end of next month with Sheila. Blessed is the season which engages our world in a conspiracy of hearts and brings together man and woman in a perfect place of remembered love.
The past year has been sometimes difficult to negotiate and as soon as I have got rid of one ailment, a new one has appeared to test my pain threshold, body endurance and mental resolve. The absence of oxygen in my blood adversely affects the functioning of my major body organs, leaving energy levels depleted and making mobility harder to accomplish. At least my regular blood transfusions allows me one good week in the month when I feel like dancing, even though my dancing shoes now rest concealed at the back of my wardrobe, highly polished, but unlikely ever to be worn again.
Between the ages of 11 and 14 years, I could not walk following a traffic accident in which I incurred multiple injuries, including damage to my spine. Being immobile at such a young age when other girls and boys were outside playing in the sunshine was, at first, greatly resented by me until someone told me that there is a power in the mind that the body will never know. I also recalled my mother once telling me, 'Billy, free your mind and widen your horizons.' The following ten years involved me reading, learning and delving into eastern traditions of meditation and all manner of mysterious musings. While my initial purpose was to walk again, that reason was soon surpassed by a much loftier one; learning to be happy with myself and remaining true to the most important person of all; me.
My work as a Probation Officer enabled me to spend twenty five years working to unify the mind and actions of troubled beings in a unity of purpose that helped them stop offending and become healthier and happier individuals. During this period, I marvelled from the folk I worked with, their strength of character at the height of adversity. I learned of the tremendous courage one is capable of displaying, even as they struggled from the bottom of the pile of earthly opportunities, fearful of their past and frightened for their future. I learned that real courage is being scared to death and still taking the next step forward and I discovered that true courage comes not from learning to walk again, but daring to live again!
After retiring early on medical grounds in my early 50s and becoming more incapacitated from my 70th birthday onwards, I feel blessed that I still possess a positive and active mind and still retain my full mental faculties in relatively good order. When I look back, the one piece of advice I would give any youngster today would be to dream your own dream and control your own destiny or someone else will try for you. I would tell them to be their own judge in matters of the heart and not be undermined by the opinion of others. I would say, 'Stay positive in all that you think and say and you will find that all that you do will also be positive. When people undermine your dreams, predict your doom, or criticize you, remember, they’re telling you their story, not yours. Do not allow them to dump their negativity on your doorstep.'
I am eternally grateful for having an active and creative mind and my reading and writing keeps me occupied on most days between 9am and 3pm. With my condition, I tend to work when I can and rest when I must. I have always found that helping to lift the load of another is a sure way of lightening one's own burden and it therefore pleases me that my daily posts are known to bring comfort to a few. I enjoy writing immensely, for it gives me the mental exercise that keeps my body functioning. Being a man who has always finished what he starts, when I finish writing one story, I derive much comfort in starting another as this keeps my heart working as I walk the beat of my daily round of past memories." William Forde: April 21st, 2016.