"Freedom is no less than the oxygen of life and the spirit of the soul, without which all life is meaningless. If it is to mean anything of worth to a man or woman, it must mean being able to choose one's own burden towards the end of one's journey through life! It starts with thought itself, follows on with the freedom of expression and concludes in one's chosen action.
We each live differently and we all die differently. No two deaths are the same and the way one chooses to carry their last burden from this side of life to the other will always remain unique to that person.
Last night, the sky seemed a bit darker when I heard that the husband of my good friend, Anne Lister, sadly lost his lengthy battle with oral cancer. Michael had been first diagnosed many years ago and had long defied the medics in their predictions.While we never met, I feel that I knew him through the love of his wife and the many things she would tell me about him.Whenever Anne spoke of her husband, it was always wrapped in words of genuine affection and a wifely respect. This told me that however much on the outside Michael's illness and the many facial operations he had endured over the past few years had changed his appearance, she never once lost sight of the image of the man she first loved, married and had lived with and cared for.
In some ways, because we each travelled the cancer road of 'no return', I felt an affinity with Michael as I do other cancer sufferers with terminal conditions. Paradoxically, we do not necessarily have to see each other, to know more closely than others what a dying person may be going through at a particular stage of their illness, or have an idea of some of the thoughts inside their heads, their unspoken fears and even their unvoiced dreams for their loved ones and family they leave behind. In a strange way, the affinity we feel is not only comforting, but also inspiring! Each extra day one terminally ill cancer patient lives adds an extra day to the lives of other terminally cancer patients in hopeful expectation, and every time a cancer patient dies, a part of us dies with them.
All people who love the husband or wife who is by their side at the end is blessed. All who are fortunate to die at home instead of in a hospital bed is doubly blessed. And all people who have the wisdom to know that those who watch death in its passing require more courage and support than the person on their death bed, will not forget their grieving friends in the months and years ahead. That is the most lonely time of all, when the memory of our friend's loss has faded in our minds as we continue with our busy lives, but not in theirs. That is the time when friends to the bereaved are needed just as much; and when the holding of the hand and a cuddle five years after the death is just as welcome and as needed as it was on the day of the funeral.
My thoughts are with Anne and her family and friends today and I celebrate in the knowledge that Michael lived and loved. RIP Michael Lister xxx" William Forde: August 10th, 2016.