The Old Year Passes

I have to start with the weather, because these past days it has been absolutely stunning. Bright winter sunshine, sparkling in the frost which covers everything, warm enough to bring the spring bulbs peeping up in the garden. No wind! Which is just as well because tomorrow I’m headed for Edinburgh for a follow-up check from my transplant surgery which to date is going very well.

This has been an amazing year! I didn’t know last New Year’s when I was still very ill how much change would come about between then and now and sometimes it was very hard not to lose my faith that everything would be OK. I should have known better.

I’ve cherished the visits from my offspring and grandchildren over the year and the welcome news that Simon is coming back to Europe permanently from Peru after six years working there. It will be good to have him closer and I’m sure his nieces are as pleased as I am. I am so proud of them all as they pursue their own busy lives balancing family and personal achievements.

It was exciting in April when I received my first copy of “Handweaving: The Basics” which was published by Bloomsbury UK. What a feeling it was to hold it for the first time and realise how BEAUTIFUL it was. Thanks go to Nigel Walker with all his photo-knowledge, Alexa Rutherford for her distinctive drawings and to Davina Forbes the editor at Bloomsbury who kept the ball rolling with my daughter when I was not able.

Of course the main event of the year was the transplant operation on November 4. The recovery is going well and I look forward to each day as my body gets a bit stronger and I no longer feel that I’ve climbed Goat Fell when I go out to the garden.

This year was also made special because I reconnected with an “old” friend from high school and church after 50 years. Amazing to find that we are still on the same wavelength after all this time and distance. Phil has been a great support from 4000 + miles away (who’s counting), helping me to come to terms with what was happening to me-in-waiting and sometimes being just as pesky as he used to be in high school. Amazing how much irony you can convey in an email!

i an very grateful for all that has happened in 2014 to make me the stronger person I am today both spiritually and physically and I look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring.

Best wishes to all of you for a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. I look forward to hearing from you.

window seen – Photo: Lynn Ross     Words: Phil Coleman

Window View 2812141

The civilized crystals glassed up inside
encased snugly against the cold
smugly considering their cousins beyond the pane
(do not call it “pain,” for we bask in warmth you see)
the frosted crystals crusted upon the scape
keeping vigilance against the darking day,
the staid ones, compacted in their containers
rest against each other’s corner and crevices
accepting their own certitude
undaunted by the courage foisted outside upon the winter green
quietly eternally gazing
waiting for
for evaporation

The Empty Suitcase

Suitcase Empty1

I was on the list for a liver transplant at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh for nearly three years. Some days were better than others as my body fought off the liver disease. Some days I felt I’d be an invalid for the rest of my life. On November 4th I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, but I gave myself a swift talking to at dinner time and put one of my yummy Wiltshire Food meals in the microwave, set the timer and the phone rang.

It was one of the transplant coordinators from the Royal. “Have you eaten dinner, ye?” she asked. I explained about the meal in the oven and she said `’Don’t eat. We’ve got a liver for you and all being well, you’ll be having surgery later on tonight. The helicopter will be over shortly to bring you through to the hospital. The rest went by in a blur, with the magical helicopter ride, all the lights of Ayrshire and Glasgow below took half an hour. The next thing I really remember was waking up and hearing that the operation was all over and it had gone very well.

Now I’m home recuperating and although my body is still adjusting to the changes, my overwhelming feelings are joy and gratitude.  I am no longer on the list, the disease is gone, my family don’t have to think any more about being live donors. Most of all we are all so grateful to the donor and family.

One feature of the waiting time was my little black trolley suitcase which `i had with me when I was working on the European projects. It stood in the cupboard, ready packed with what I would need when the call came through. From time to time as an act of faith I would update and repack it. When the call came I phoned my friend Alison and she came right aeay to help me tweak the last minute packing, take the dinner out of the microwave, both of us full of wonder that it was my time at last.

Now the waiting time seems to have flown past and this new phase of recovery and regeneration seems like an amazing gift.There is so much to look forward to, hopefully with new adventures for my trusty suitcase and `i don’t have to wonder any more what it will feel like when the call comes through.

P.S. Thanks again to the staff at the Royal Infirmary and Arran War Memorial Hospital, the ambulance and Sea King helicopter crews  for such wonderful care before and after the op.

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