"As it has been three weeks since my last blood transfusion, the time has come around once again for me to spend another day in hospital receiving one.
Had anyone told me years ago when I still sensed an immortality of presence and purpose that my days would soon be numbered, I would have probably told them to stop speaking nonsense and to fly their kite elsewhere; anywhere instead of my back yard.
When I first learned that I had a terminal illness, I must confess that part of me was inwardly angry as I'd only remarried the love of my life, Sheila, some four or five months earlier. I won't pretend that it was the easiest of experiences to get my head around, but once I had managed to accept the inevitability of my departure from this life and the uncertainty of my remaining length of time here on earth, I was eventually able to come to terms with the reality and implications of my condition. This knowledge produced in me a type of freedom hitherto unexperienced. Never forget that there is every chance that the best of days are still to come; not that they have been and gone!
Not being sure of one's future can sometimes be difficult to cope with, yet being certain can hold out the prospect of better enjoying the pleasures that you meet today and tomorrow. The obvious implication of my condition is 'not knowing' if I will still be alive in three months' time or three years or when to stay at home or risk going out, depending on the amount of oxygen in my blood or the clemancy or cold of the weather.
'Not knowing' is the greatest uncertainty that I now have to cope with for as long as I live. 'Not knowing' if the mere contact caused by caressing a child who has just developed a bug or giving them an innocent kiss or harmless hug will represent 'hello' or 'farewell'. 'Not knowing' when I stretch out my hand to another in friendship if the exchange of greeting carries within it the received and hidden germ that is passed from the shaken palm of another. 'Not knowing' how near or far to stand next to another with whom I am engaged in conversation; whether to risk their displeasure through my distance or jeopardise my continued well being by consuming their breath in too close a proximity to that of my own. 'Not knowing' if catching the mere blast of a chilled wind represents the travelling of a deadly bullet coming my way is now the life sentence that hangs over me for the rest of my days.
Living and walking around without the protection of an effective immune system with which to fend off even the mildest of illness is akin to walking the remainder of one's life on the edge of a steep cliff, as the absence of any effective immune system in my body plays Russian Roulette with each of my actions and everyday decisions that I make. And yet, if my illness has taught me one thing worthy of learning, it is that it's far, far better to die living than it is to live dying; that giving begets more pleasure than receiving and that the ugliest thing imaginable on the face of the earth is a human being without compassion.
As an author over the past twenty five years with over sixty published books to my name, I find the penning of a new story that I'm currently writing for publication a complete new experience. Whenever I have sat down to write a story in the past, I have never truly known 'where' and 'how' it will end. Last week, when I started to write my next story, the question wasn't 'where' or 'how' it would end, but 'if?'
It may seem a strange thing to hear me say, but there exists for me today an excitement to living my life on the edge of a cliff; not knowing when the ground upon which I walk will collapse beneath my feet and will swallow me up. Overall, I feel a heightened sense of exhilaration that can only be matched I suspect by the gambler's throw of the dice when all is at stake.
I was recently thanking God for having given me another day of life and this got me thinking about past sayings I'd heard from my dear old mum. I recalled something my mother once told me when she said, 'God hasn't added another day to your life for your benefit, Billy. He added it because there is someone out there who needs you. Now get a move on and fetch that washing in off the line or it'll never get ironed!'
I will end for now folks as I'm off out for a few pints!" William Forde: January 12th, 2015.