"I spent a long day in hospital yesterday, and have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week to spend there also as I get other procedures carried out, such as blood and platelet transfusions twice, X-ray and Cat Scans along with a pacemaker exchange if my body is up to it. In fact, I am getting quite used to 'waiting' for one thing or another to happen these days.
In my teenage years, like many a young man who was determined to shake up society from its complacency and who would one day change the world, I wasn't the most patient of people. There were a number of occasions when I'd come home hungry from work on a payday and ask mum to make me something to eat before I went out on the town with my mates. In my eagerness to get the fun of the night going as soon as possible, I'd quickly wash, put on my best clothes and then forget the meal that mum had cooked upon my request. Much to her annoyance, I'd go out the door unfed, as mum protested vainly in the background about my imminent disappearance if I got nothing down me!
And whenever it came to dating, it would be customary to meet the girl outside the Picture House (cinema), on the first occasion at an agreed time. Very early on in my life, I accepted the code that once given, a man's word was his bond and if the meeting time between the couple stated was 7.00 pm, if they were not there when the clock struck 7.00 pm, they'd be given short shrift. My practice was to allow them three minutes latitude before I left the queue of 'stand-ups'; most of whom would wait a half hour and some who might even wait a few hours until the film was over; just in case their date had fallen and had broken an arm or a leg as they hurried to meet them.
There must have been many a young woman who arrived five minutes after the agreed time for our first date to find herself stood up! I have often wondered how much the course of my life might have changed had I been prepared to wait a few minutes longer for that first date to arrive!
It was probably my expectation to 'go along with life' as opposed to 'follow it' that made me want to keep ahead of the game. Over the years, and way into my twenties I never wanted to wait for anything I desired. Then, one day I was to experience something that was to change my life forever and the way that I looked at life in general. At the time, I was a volunteer visitor to the Cheshire Home in Cleckheaton, where I would often visit the frail and the dying who had no living relatives. One of the men I visited had been given three or four weeks to live and in what I then considered to be quite a macabre piece of behaviour, he started to cross off the dates on the calendar. He was in effect 'monitoring his demise and waiting to die'. His response to his situation bothered me so much that I determined that while I'd be prepared to wait if I could live better, never would I find myself in the queue of those poor people whom life had lost its meaning and had stood them up; leaving them 'waiting to die.'
Despite having had a terminal cancerous condition for a number of years now, though the fleeting thought of death does cross my mind from time to time to remind me that I have a future first date with destiny, for the time being, I have every intention of 'standing up' the Grim Reaper. Indeed, I won't even be as charitable to him as the many young women I made a first date with during my earlier life. Instead of giving the Grim Reaper three minute's grace to arrive and meet me, I intend never to willingly await him in any queue!If he wants me, he'll have to seek me out and hunt me down because I'm not coming willingly!" William Forde: March 3rd, 2017.