Broken? (Paperback)Paul Middleton (author)
Paperback 55 Pages / Published: 12/06/2018
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Introduction Between 2008 and 2010, both my wife Linda and I received treatment for cancer. The care we received at Addenbrookes Hospital was incredible and we were both able to recover and return to work and a full life. Linda had already been retired for a few years when I decided that it was the right time for me to finish full time work in August 2015. We agreed that, whilst we had all sorts of ideas for activity and adventure in retirement, a wonderful way to start this new stage of our lives would be to go on a retreat to Lindisfarne. In early September, therefore, we did just that - an extraordinary week in which we both felt uplifted and assured of God's presence and leading, whatever the future might hold. Within three weeks of that amazing time, Linda knew that all was not well with her health and after a period of two months, following many tests, scans and consultations, she was given the devastating news that her cancer had returned, was widespread and that only palliative care was in prospect, the last days of which were provided with love and thoughtfulness by staff at the local Sue Ryder hospice. Linda died on 14th April 2016. For me the world had suddenly come crashing down. In my mind, it was as though this exquisite vase, which was our love and shared life together, had shattered into a myriad tiny pieces. This was not the retirement I had imagined or hoped for. For four months I thrashed around, travelling to places we loved, walking miles and miles, mostly alone though sometimes in company, trying to grasp some of the fragments of that vase and to hold on to pieces of the past, afraid that everything was slipping away, for ever; trying to find any meaning at all in what had happened. v Then, in August, the writing started. I had kept a sort of diary/journal during the last few months of Linda's life, firstly to help keep track of her medication and her responses, and increasingly reflecting my own feelings. But the writings, poetry and prose, which began to flow in the August of 2016, were different. This was compulsive - I hardly seemed to have any control over when or how it was written - I simply had to write. Over the months, I began to love the writing as it expressed my deepest heartfelt pain and also brought relief and a measure of healing, if only for a moment. The pages that follow in this anthology are a selection from those months, spread over a year and a half. I have been encouraged to share them by friends, who felt they may have something to say for others, and who also affirmed my own sense that, as a body, the writings represented a "new vase", different from the original one of our marriage and life together, and with a fierce beauty of its own. One friend assured me that this new vase would, one day, be filled with wonderful things and to that hope, a sure hope, I cling. My prayer is that any who read these pages may find something that affords a degree of recognition and, perhaps paradoxically, comfort. I offer them as a gift, as they were to me. Most of all, I hope that the reader will find, as I have, that through the pain of loss and grief, blessings are there to be found if we ourselves can find the courage to lift our heads. In that act of will, reaching out with open hands to receive the love that is waiting out there, we will also find that we too still have love to give and, through that giving, life returns. Paul Middleton January 2018
Publisher: FastPrint Publishing
Number of pages: 55
Dimensions: 197 x 132 x 2 mm
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