The “C” Word

Sorry, I missed that. What did you say? Oh, am I enjoying London? Why, yes I am! Although one thing does perplex me… Most of the cafes here don’t seem to deliver your coffee to your table? Wonder why? Perhaps they like congestion by the counter?

The past couple of years have been full of surprises, both wonderful and awful! I’ve always lived under the false assumption that our family were untouchable, immortal, somewhat immune to everything, and would always be there. Because, well, family is always there for each other. Growing up in a single parent home is not easy for two young girls, nor their mother. So, I’ve grown up with a firm relationship with my immediate family, and a deep love for my extended family. Family means so much to me, so when something unexpected happens that affects my family, it throws me.

Not two years ago, my sister was thrown deep into the grasp of a horror known as “psychosis”. It was awful to see my beautiful, bubbly, wonderful little sister in such a state, it really rocked me to the core as someone in my family was hurting/unwell and I couldn’t do anything to help. Well, that’s how it seemed. It’s still very hard to go into detail, so for now I’ll point you in the direction of my superhero Mother – – She has put into words, what I cannot. Yet. What I can say is I am so incredibly proud of my sister, and my family for being so strong, and my mother for wearing the hat of so many during that time. Mother, counselor,  carer, friend, nurse.

We also encountered the “C” word, a few times. My Beloved Naughty Nana discovered she had cancer. When I found out I was shocked, horrified, and scared. It felt like my whole world had been turned upside down. My Nana? Cancer? NO, it can’t be! My Nana is so full of sass, spunk, joy, love, beauty – inside and out. There must be a mistake.
But no, it was no mistake. You see, I have such an incredible bond/relationship with my Nana. Perhaps it’s because I’m her oldest grandchild, or we’re quite alike? Clearly, I’m her favourite… Stephanie! Hehe! All I know is that my Nana has been there for me throughout the years, when others have not. She stepped up so much to pick up slack left by others. I have immense respect for her, as she has had such a colourful life, lived through so much and yet she still smiles, she still sings, she still loves.
So, when I found out that she had cancer, it was a huge jolt to the system. I realised my beautiful Nana is, in fact, mortal. I need to truly cherish each and every moment I have with her. You have no idea how it felt to hear it had been caught early, and dealt to quickly. She’s ok! Much to the relief of myself, and her ever expanding clan! And to make matters even sweeter, she still lives up to her nickname of “Naughty Nana”. The jokes she sends me? Good Lordy!

But wait, there’s more! My wonderful Poppa encountered the “C” word as well! Poppa is world famous in our family as being a fabulous musician! He’s arranged music for so many people/organisations/schools throughout NZ, and outside of, we’ve been told! He was a tenor in a quartet. He was the composer/pianist/singer of his 12 piece Jazz band.
Also, on a fun note, I grew up believing him to be Santa Claus, for so many years! He had the grey/white hair, amazing beard, a definite tummy, and a hearty laugh. He obviously would zoom up to the North Pole to collect the sleigh, reindeer, and presents, zip around the world delivering them all, and be back in time for Christmas breakfast. A logical line of thought!
He hasn’t had the best couple of years… In the space of six-months, he lost his sister, stepson, and marriage.
Last I heard, he’s in the clear yet is now living with dementia. It truly breaks my heart to see such a cheery person be reduced to a mere shadow of himself.
And my beloved mother had a cancer scare. This truly turned my world upside down. To everyone else, I was holding it together for everyone else. Ever the optimist. Yet when I’d turn in for the night, I would cry and cry. What if she didn’t make it? I’ll step up and look after my family. I’ll leave my current job for one providing more “family friendly” hours. What if? What if?
I turned to food for comfort, created an extra giggly/cheeky/funny persona, not wanting people to see how much pain I was in. Yet I wanted someone to ask “Steph, I see through this. Are you OK?” Ha! Living up to the stereotype of how complicated a woman’s mind is!
Don’t worry! Again, happy ending. Boy did we celebrate!
Through all this, I have learned to truly appreciate my colourful family, and not take the time I have with them for granted. Also, shout out to all my lovely friends who helped me through that difficult time, you are my adopted family. My weirdos, and I love you all the more for it! Get used to it, you’re stuck with me!!
Now, I’m in the UK and spending as much time as I can with relatives over here! I think the village of Llangorse have adopted me. If ever you get the chance, pop round for a cuppa! Or a pint. Lovely, quirky people there!


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