I've not written about my husband's illness. I haven't considered this deeply private anguish to be anyone else's business and I don't want to say anything to add to the distress of my closest family, most of all, our beautiful daughters.
Now I am in shock again. A turn of events last week has been particularly harrowing and a subsequent hospital stay traumatic. I can't find the right words to say what's up. My body and mind is still absorbing this latest news. Alone in my car, I have screamed as loud as I can, or I may offer up a silent scream as my face stings with more tears. I try to let the pain out. It's not enough.
I've been happy sometimes to share good news -- like when a treatment we were warned had meagre chance of working evoked a 'remarkable' effect. Or when, after spending more than a month not being allowed to move and having a cumbersome corset brace fitted to support his back, Neil was walking down the aisle - no brace, no frame, no stick. A fortnight earlier he couldn't manage a single step. If friends contact me online to ask how we are doing, I may offer a snippet of news, but I haven't said much.
Yet this week also brought great cause for celebration. Neil's birthday was a wonderful day where our house was filled with friends, family and laughter.
Among the cards, my sister in law Helen sent us some homework by our niece Sarah as she thought we may enjoy it. I was so touched by what it said, I wanted to share it here.
Why are they inspirational to me?
This week's homework is about inspirational people. I have chosen to write about my Uncle Neil. He is inspirational to me because over Christmas and New Year, he organised a big celebration to show his love for his friends and family, even though he has been seriously ill and has been in and out of hospital.
Neil is my dad's brother and he lives near Birmingham with his partner and two daughters, Emily and Melissa (our cousins.)
In November last year, Neil was diagnosed with cancer. He was then immediately taken to hospital and stayed there for a number of months. Each time his family came to visit him he remained positive and planned the family wedding celebration in the new year. You would never hear him feeling sorry for himself or complain.
At the wedding, Uncle Neil was amazingly brave and was forever smiling. Obviously he was in a lot of pain but he didn't make a fuss because he knew it was everybody's special day, especially his wife and children. Neil needs a brace because he is so ill but he didn't wear it at all throughout the day. Uncle Neil was feeling very tired but he managed to make an excellent speech and made sure everyone was having a great day too.
What work do they do?
At the age of 18, Uncle Neil went to Canterbury University and studied journalism for three years. Four years on, at the age of 22, he worked for the BBC and various other newspapers, before going into business with his wife. Unfortunately now Neil is unable to work due to his illness.
How do their lives truly reflect on the teachings of Jesus?
Despite his illness, Uncle Neil is a kind, caring and loving father and husband. He is determined to overcome his illness with good humour and optimism for the future. He always puts other people before himself and shows great courage in the face of his pain. This is how Jesus would want people to live.
How can I be more like them?
To be more like my Uncle Neil, I should stop taking simple things for granted. I have a lot of things to be thankful for like: good health, a loving family and caring friends. I should be more thankful towards them because some people in this world don't have these things.