Katy

We were never ill. Yet you get cancer. My mum and sister died from ovarian cancer, mum aged 54 in 1975, my sister aged 45 this March, within a year and despite strong chemotherapy. Dad died, aged 69 in 1986, prostate cancer and I get Motor Neurone Disease. Two brothers fine. Odd. My four grandparents and their many siblings made very old bones and mum's three sisters and their families are all fine. My neurologist reckons it's a lottery - if your numbers come up you win the jackpot! Ho ho! We need a sense of humour. My hands and arms are too weak to let me paint - if I could there'd be blue sky, sunshine, cheerful faces full of hope, getting on with living however restricted we are. I'd like to do a painting for my sister. She was energetic, gregarious, organised with a real zest for life. Good cook, loved a houseful. She collected elephants (not real ones!) from their travels, so may I have that outline with trunk high, in blue (her favourite colour), legs moving. Inside outline, top middle, big yellow sun, below their house (wide bay window, terraced). My sister, hubby, three kids (as stick people), steaming cooking pot, glasses, balloons, friends all around, colourful. On the right, bed with my sister.

High above foot of bed, waning green moon, flowing tears to river under bed. Yellow angel at bedhead. White dove above bed flying upwards, twinkling stars. Clumps of white flowers. Outside colour, light blue. You do have to work through the gamut of emotions and adjust and move forwards. Life is full of challenges; Motor Neurone Disease has been my hardest. I hate what it's done to my body, taken my 'doing' roles, changed my life, forcing me to be dependant when I was so competent; but I still give of myself. Despite all the difficulties through my adult life, I'm happy and feel truly blessed. Obviously I do get angry, upset and frustrated but thankfully not often. We just give up or fight? I believe that with support we can live alongside the illness even if it claims us in the end. It's trying that matters. I leave you with a poem I came across a year ago and memorised. It says it all.

If you've never felt the sorrow of another person's grief;
If you've never felt an inner urge to want to bring relief to someone
who's in trouble with a kindly word or smile;
If you've never loved your neighbour as yourself with all your might;
If you've never shed a teardrop at a pure and holy sight; If others have
not been blessed by something you have said;
You need have no fear of dying - you are already dead.