Tuesday I procrastinated as much as possible, but eventually set off to Derbyshire, the first leg of the journey to say goodbye to Bec. I stopped off at Grantham Asda, looked at a hat, tried it on when noone was looking and tried to imagine what it would look like on my bald head - and failed. I kind of have too much hair right now for that level of pretending. Picked up some dairy and gluten free seeded bread rolls, some onion pate (vegan of course) for emergencies and a multi pack of tissues. Essential Green Cancer Vixen on the road fayre! I would have loved to have gone straight to bed when I arrived at my aunt's but that's rude - I mean it was 7pm, I'd not had my nap, (I have fecking cancer which makes me tired) had driven 60 miles. So I tried my best to join in conversation about old people, people who have almost lived twice as long as I'm expected to (I should reiterate, prognosis schmognosis, I'm not taking any notice of that crap, not that I've asked) - about their trials and tribulations old age brings. Boo Hoo. Sorry, I know that's harsh, but I was tired?
Aunt dropped me at the station, parking in disabled space, despite the 4 or 5 spaces in the next row for non-blue badge holders (I don't get it, really). I have a badge now, again. So does Uncle. Uncle wasn't with us. I was wearing 3.5 inch heels and a dress, looking "pretty". Under no circumstances did I look like I was unable to make the 10 metre walk to the train station entrance. Anwyay I got a smoothie, a green tea and a bottle of water, ate my pear and my 9 seed raw bar (feeling sick at the amount of carbs as sugars but figuring I was still in my 80:20 ration of green/good : bad foods.
I read plenty more of my recent Amazon purchase on the train "Beating Cancer with Nutrition". Brilliant. The author is a master of the analogy! He's American so he obviously can't spell properly, but I'll forgive him that (this is where I apologise my American readers, but really, I live near the ORIGINAL Boston, England and we made the language first, you just skipped a lot of letters out of the bigger words, it's cheating). This book is again backing up all my nutritional advice from Mel, Deepak Chopra's lectures and Canceractive.com amongst others, but none of them suggest I ditch the chemo. In fact this book suggests that nutrition can make the chemo an easier ride, let the chemo debulk the tumours, and then finish up with nutrition, mentality, exercise etc. Job's a goodun! I got to thinking that if my tumours grew that much in 6 months (turns out there was one on my January scan, but inconclusive) then by Christmas they'll be what, 4-5cm in my liver and 2cm in my lungs x however many? That's gonna make a difference to my day to day life some time soon yeah?
When the train pulled into Birmingham New Street..I got off...dithered, panicked and got back on again - realising I wasn't on the later 1 change route, but the straight through to Brizzle Parkway route (insufficient sleep I'm claiming). Just in case anyone noticed "that bird with the very red roots, spotty dress and 3.5 inch heels" I got back on in another carriage and kept my head down for a while. Text Lady D - she was having train trauma too, it was clearly affecting the BBs in a similar way. Given my Nutrition study, the tears were behaving, not so with Lady D. My train got to Parkway a couple of minutes before Caz and Lady D so time for another loo trip (trouble with eating so much actual veg as well as juicing - I don't bloody need the fibre mmkay?) and cue me, having berated the Lady for repetetive eye leakage and ordered her to "pull herself together" leaking at the very sight of the pair of them. Parker aka a friend of the Lady, had valiantly offered to hand hold and chauffeur for the day in a rather swanky black Jag.
We arrived as the ceremony started. The first poem was just the most fitting reading she could have had - I Love You by Roy Croft. There were no seats and barely any standing room in the entrance so we stood on the stairs so we could hear. The building was stone, painted white inside with windows all around on every wall letting in all the light and the sounds of the birds in the trees and hedges surrounding us. No crucifixes, just candles and a wicker coffin covered in leaves and white flowers. It was exactly what I would wish for myself, and have been looking into for the last 4 years. But this isn't how I wanted to experience it, not at all, never. Two people spoke about Bec and her work with the Samaritans and as a prison visitor, and her manager where she's worked for 8 years. To hear more details of what a wonderful, beautiful person Bec was, the huge parts of her life I've never been involved with, made me feel so small and insignificant in her life when to me, she's been a part of my support group, a massive influence in the best ways. Not a bad or critical word you could say about her, not one. One of the songs was Little Star by Kelis - I'd given up trying to be quiet about crying and grabbing more tissues by that point. It was such a wonderful, fitting tribute and I couldn't help but admire Ol and her family for managing to make it so, whilst wanting to somehow take some of their pain. Ol couldn't speak, but the celebrant read what he wanted to say. The celebrant had obviously spent a lot of time talking to them about Bec and I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd met her. He sounded genuine.
We managed to speak to him after the service and give him some hugs, because he's going to need a lot to fill the hole she's left. He looked so small and lost. Despite this, he was so thankful the three of us had made it, knowing we'd had to travel, and wanted to make sure I was OK as far as I could be. I told him I couldn't have missed it. That wasn't an option and the only pain I was in that day was in my heart, caused by cancer, but not my own.
There were baskets of Livestrong bands, I put one on and I hope they are built to last because that's my reminder of Bec, a reminder of another reason I have to stay positive and keep going, keep believing and hoping, on behalf as well as my own. Her brother and dad and a few other relatives wore Livestrong t-shirts. Ol wore a shirt that was just, Ol. Her mum wore blue and purple which showed off her very short (shaved in support of Bec having to shave hers, as did other friends and family) white hair. I realised my spotty dress, although black and white, and heels were absolutely appropriate. We wrote in the memorial book, donated to St Peter's Hospice and had a toast to Bec with (non fizzy) pink wine and tea, sat on benches by the pond. It couldn't have been a nicer day, weather wise, it couldn't have been a more peaceful setting. Bec's mum came to talk to us, which felt quite humbling, that she knew who we were, as did one of her brothers and her sister in law. Bec looks like her mum, I could see her in her mum's face and I blurted it out, but rather than upsetting her, she said it was the nicest thing anyone had said to her all day. I managed a couple of minutes with Bec alone when I went to find an order of service - obviously not enough printed for the people who wanted to, and could make it to say goodbye. Her sister in law let me have one which I must copy. I didn't say anything out loud to Bec, there's no need now, she knows. I promised Ol I'd stay in touch and let him know how I'm doing, and he offered his support to all of us, even on such a day? We told him to keep getting hugs, eat properly and other mum type stuff. Quite how we can keep an eye on him from so far, I'm not sure, but we can try.
After a drink at a pretty country pub, Parker dropped us back at the station and I started the long, still tearful journey home. I made it back by 9 and lit a candle of my own.