Sharing the moments that shifted the course of our lives
“The future held new possibilities.”
Christmas Day, 1951 by Pat Spence
I am at home after a family Christmas. My friend Nancy has called to invite me to her house. Her boyfriend Ray is there, I reluctantly did so. Ray’s friend was there – on leave from the army. He is very good looking – tall,dark and handsome. The evening ended and he walked me home and asked to take me out.
I agreed. His name was Joe.
68 years this August since we got married.
Something Good by C.H
I never drank – as I do not want to drink – and –
Although I felt burnt out – I took some time to think
Let it pass I thought to myself…
As I stood there on the brink –
Thinking I better start swimming –
Before I begin to sink
I found my mind back online – and began to see the link –
Finding balance will take time – I’m ending this with a wink.
A Sea Change by Jude Bazen
We have finally made the move
Left the rainy streets of Manchester and moved seawards
This first morning by the coast, our new home, our new life.
We step out into the sunshine and walk hand in hand up Beach Road hill
And there it is – the ultimate reward for our long journey
The sea, the sand, the gentle waves
This is our new freedom, our hopes as never-ending as the sky.
Things go wrong by Mrs Pat
Lovely July morning, me and the Mr at 6am liying chatting about our up and coming time off work “holliday yay!” He gets up and gives me a kiss and off to work he gos 6.30am.
6.50am. I’m up and my mobile rings. It’s one of Mr pats work friends Tommy saying they had just passed Pat on the Chainbridge road bypass and he has been in a head on car crash.
I scream “ok ok” then put the phone down so in a panic im in a pair of shorts t shirt and one slipper to get to him I hands free ring my brother who lives 2 mins away from the crash so he goes meanwhile I’m coming along scotswood road and the traffic is at a stand still.
“What the fuck is going on?” I’m thinking then it hits me the road is closed and it’s because of pats crash. Panic really sets in.
How will I get to him? What if I never see him again ?
The phone rings its my brother he said “where are you?” I tell him he said “whatever you do, do not come here! go to the general and wait.”
There I stood there outside for nearly two hours waiting for every ambulance that came in then brother rang said “they have managed to get him out but they can’t get a line in so he in a lot of pain.”
He then arrives. Words failed me as I still couldn’t get to him. He seen me, he said “I’m ok I’m ok don’t worry” then everything went into slow motion.
The Dr came, the surgeon nurses came with tea I got a chance to see him before surgery. I told him how much I loved him.
So a fair few hours later Dr returned and said he was in a bad way and that he had died on table but I was so relieved.
The next months were so hard going to work doing two jobs and seeing to Pat in hospital as he didn’t want no one but me. He had to start from the beginning to learn to walk again. It’s been a really hard road.
We find out the guy who hit him was 3 times over the limit, no licence and no insurance and he didn’t even say sorry. He got three and a half months and did three weeks.
That day ruined the life we had but on a positive side it made us stronger but it’s still a struggle everyday but karma is in the air we recently found out that he is now in jail for a stabbing and got eight years.
Oh, how I love karma.
Not Working Nine to Five by David Black
Friday Ha Ha, I’ve got away with it for another week! Well, sleeping on it did make all the difference. If I can’t solve my world’s problems, then perhaps I can make the time I’ve got more satisfying and fulfilling for myself.
So, it’s out with the rules of convention and it’s in with trying new things, throwing stuff at the wall of my soul and just seeing what sticks. I’m not going back, whatever happens. It’s such a relief to know I’ll never do that conventional Nine to Five ever again.
I think it’s a plan. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and never thought I’d do. I said I was happy in a rut, but I was just kidding myself really.
Go to your task Mr. Black!
You first love by Amy Jane Dixon
So far, a beautiful morning, no rain. A quiet breakfast: no banana and chocolate cake, alas, but still good.
Then, my morning became even better; Salon M, my hair washed and blown dry – and it still wasn’t raining, but I caught a bus just in case.
A man at the stop turned to me, gestured to me to go ahead
“You first love”.
A Day That Never Changes by Arijus Balaisis
Same life, different city.
Life doesn’t happen like that.
Maybe, I’m wrong.
I’m trying to change but
It’s too hard to change.
Everything stays the same.
Always making the same mistakes
Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.
I’m making plans.
Everybody’s making plans.
Not always follow through.
One week, second week
Trying to make time.
I don’t do the steps to take me forward.
I don’t want to try anymore.
Next time, next time, next time.
Extend it, extend it, extend it.
You make a plan.
Do that, do that.
I don’t care now,
I don’t mind.
Darkness Fell by Mary O’Sullivan-Fawcett
My heart is racing as I enter the RVI and scrutinise the entrance hall for him, there he is, his smile lifts me and begin to calm, he reaches for my hand and asks if everything is okay.
“Tell you later.” I answer.
My appointment at the Freeman hadn’t gone the way I wanted and we have a lot to talk about, our futures will have to change but first we need to get him to his appointment here.
His name is called and we step into a cubicle to be greeted by a tall, smiling doctor who shakes both our hands, he enquires as to why we’re here and my partner says “I feel like a fraud, it’s nothing really but a couple of things are happening and she”, he smiles at me reassuringly, “dragged me to my GP, who has quickly got this appointment with you”, those two words, surprisingly quickly, hammer into my head.
The doctor talks through symptoms, gives him a thorough examination, asks some questions and, as he does so, his whole demeanor is changing, is it me or is there a shift in atmosphere, my senses rise and I’m struggling for air.
The doctor is saying that tests are needed, and fairly quickly, to confirm a diagnosis, my partner’s gorgeous face is darkening, there is an edge to his voice and his eyes are pleading with me to make this all alright, I probably look as scared and fragile as he is but I’m trying to stay focused, I’m used to hospitals and am listening carefully to what the doctor is not saying more than what he actually is, and I’m frightened now, terrified.
He asks the doctor if he knows what the problem is, the reply is that without the tests he can’t be certain but my partner persists, he can see and hear what I can, this doctor knows more than he’s saying.
Again he pushes him for answers but the doctor is equally insistent that he should not say anything yet.
Eventually my partner insists that he tell him and states that if it’s the wrong diagnosis he will not hold it against him but he needs to have some idea.
This lovely, caring doctor sits us both on the bed, hands held tightly together, and with eyes that are full of dread and sorrow says the three words I would not want anyone to ever hear,
“I believe that you have MND, that is, Motor Neurone Disease”
Rob passes out. I reach out to him, my hand touching his gentle, beautiful face and now I know why we sat on the bed, the doctor looks at me and says quietly
“You know what it is, don’t you?”.
“Yes” I say softly, tears quietly soaking my face, my clothes, as our world collapses into darkness.
Ali’s bow and arrow by Mary Pickin
We’re in the living room, a whole gaggle of us. I’m watching TV. I’m happy because Auntie Anne and Uncle Jerry are visiting for the weekend. They are lovely; Uncle Jerry is an Irishman from Cork. He’s gentle and fun. Dad and he are chatting. Auntie Anne and mum are in the kitchen a corridor away in this huge house. They’ve been laughing all day. I’m happy.
My little sister, Ali, is playing with a toy bow and arrow; the arrow has a rubber tip. Without anyone noticing Ali puts the toy arrow in the mouth. Then she chokes. Dad and Uncle Jerry – a vet and a GP rush towards her. One pulls the arrow out; the rubber tip is left behind lodged in her throat. Ali chokes and chokes. An electricity rushes throughout my body. I can smell my fear and I run down the corridor into the dining room. I think she’s going to die. I look out of the big bay window, cling to the curtains and I pray hard. Please don’t let her die, please don’t let her die. I see my dad rush down the corridor (he’s going to his vet’s surgery at the top of the drive to get some tweezers). I start to cry. Then someone calls “IT’S OUT” Uncle Jerry’s slim fingers had got it out where my dad’s strong vets fingers had failed.
I feel sick and overwhelming relief. Ali looked exhausted. Uncle Jerry is holding the bloody arrow tip.
Dad comes back. Uncle Jerry says he’d managed to push the tip away from her trachea up behind the nasal passage and then his slim fingers grabbed it and pulled it back through her mouth. She wouldn’t have choked. They smile and then laugh and start to discuss their patients’ choking experiences. Mum and Auntie Anne laugh because they were in the kitchen and didn’t even know that little Ali was choking to death.
Ali is exhausted and shamefaced. I don’t remember her being hugged and told she was loved and we nearly lost her. Ali is number 11 in our sprawling family. I go back to watching the TV.
Never has half an ounce been more important by Barbara Douglas
It’s late evening. Husband has just left.
As I look out at the twinkling lights of London I think, ‘please let it be ok this time’.
The door opens; three medics in green gowns and white wellies burst in. “We need to go ahead now.”
The rest is a blur.
I come to and am told that I have a daughter – 1lb 14 and a half ounces. Never has half an ounce been more important.
Mum and my sister Trish come to visit.
They have seen our baby in the neonatal unit.
‘She’s very tiny’.
We name her Penelope Rosalind Douglas Lea.
Her name is longer than she is.
I am on a ward now. Still strung up to a drip.
Liz and Dave come to visit.
I tell them to go and see my baby but they refuse when they find out I haven’t seen her yet.
I realise I have completely lost all agency.
I didn’t think to ask and no-one thought to tell me I could just walk down the corridor to see her.
When I do see her, she looks like a little frog.
Wired up to machines which constantly bleep and keep my nerves on edge.
“Don’t listen to the machines, watch the baby” the nurses constantly say, but it’s easier said than done.
I imagined the baby in the Pampers advertisement.
Life isn’t quite like that.
No Laughing Matter by Irene Mantey
Ok so I’m going to this appointment. Just another thing to do. It probably won’t amount to anything anyway. I’ll get it out of the way and get back to work this afternoon. I told Lillian not to cancel the group, that I’ll be back at work just after lunch this afternoon.
Well, had the procedure and it wasn’t too bad. In the corridor. Waiting. Come on, come on. Got to get back to work. Good, here we go, back to the consulting room. Oh, another test! Well, let’s get it over with. Ah well, that one was a bit uncomfortable. But back in the corridor. Waiting. Brain racing.
Whoops, called in again now. He looks at me. “An op”, he says “Six weeks and then some treatment. Have you any questions?”
I know what he said. I know he said it. I know I heard it. It’s just it can’t be right. Can’t think. I must reply.’
“What’s the meaning of life?”
I blurt out and then I laugh, my inappropriate laugh.