One night only

Image courtesy of Helen Jones.

Well, I made a right hash of that.

I was going to post something… then wasn’t… then thought I ought… then knew how private it was… then remembered what I’d told others. Maybe being honest might help someone else going through the mill…

When you get slung into surreal situations, there is a sort of fail-safe that plays out scenarios in the safety of half-buried imagination. Lets you try them on for size, if you like. Get a feel for how they fit. The calm, unfazed acceptance, the screaming fury, the sanitised sanity of philosophical serenity…

In none of them does your oxygen canula keep filling with snot when the tears even you don’t understand keep coming. When it is a relief to have answers you would cheerfully scream at. When the dying becomes the easy part and living, knowing how much it is going to hurt those you love, becomes the hard bit.

And then you have to tell everyone. And no, you still don’t really have answers… just a few facts and generalisations.

And what you really want to know why they said, just a few days ago that it might even be treatable

Because it isn’t.

It is small cell cancer. It has spread to the equivalent of stage four-plus. Which means they can’t treat it with any view to making me well again… though the palliative care may well help me live in good condition with it for a while.

The prognosis is not good and that particular doctor… a chest specialist, not an oncologist commenting on my case, will only generalise and say ’months to short years’.

Well, what’s different between me and everyone else then, except a bit of fair warning? We’re all in that particular boat really. Death can happen any time and I just get chance to be a bit more organised about it.

I’m determined to make it to Cairn Holy with Mary in Spring.

I can work with that.

Will I see the heather in bloom again, though?

Can’t handle that idea. It makes me cry.

And all of a sudden, I’m fed up of being reasonable. Sensible. Logical.

I actually want to be unreasonable about this. To break things. To say it isn’t fair that I won’t get to a ripe old retirement. That I can’t share time with those I love just because I can… because now there will always be a limit on possibility. Because I’ve been here, you see. I know what it is like to lose those you love most to cancer. It changes how you see things, how you experience and remember things… how you store memories.

It can and often does make everything more precious.

But for one night, you almost wish no-one cared at all, because then, you wouldn’t feel them shake in your arms, or see the hurt and loss looming in their eyes, knowing that you can do nothing at all to stop that.

And that, after all, you shouldn’t.  

That you know, deep down, that this is part of their story and learning too. No matter how well or how badly you handle both the news and the fallout, tomorrow will be a new day.

You will learn how to walk through a world where the rules have slipped sideways a bit. Because we do… we are adaptable creatures, humans. And your loved ones too will find their own path through their shadows… hopefully a path where we can all share laughter and lunacy along the way. Making the Living of it worth its capital ‘L’.

But for one night only… maybe it is okay to get it all wrong, go to pieces and just say oh, bollocks.  

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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164 Responses to One night only

  1. Your bravery to write here is inspiring for others to say the least and well- outside of that, I’m sorry, I’m wordless for something of substance for you…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so sorry, Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    There are no words yet , but there is love a support. 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadje says:

    It breaks my heart that you are going through a situation where words are no help. You’re absolutely right that we all are dying. Some might know a tentative timeline while others are caught unaware. Lots of hugs and prayers


  5. It’s more than okay, Sue. Do what you need to. You’re on my mind and in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jen Goldie says:

    DAMN IT!!💖💕😔 I….have no other words. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. joylennick says:

    Dear Sue, I feel your pain and am crying like the rain. I only know you through the lap-top…but scrub the word ONLY out, because you are very special. Am thinkng of you – and like Felicia above, you are in my heart too. Love and peace. xx

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Sue Vincent says:

    Thank you. We can all fall apart at the seams 😉


  9. Scream away, Sue, and I will too. In a way, you’re right, you simply have fair warning, but the point is, we usually don’t want fair warning. Scream ballocks and whatever else comes to mind and although I don’t believe in miracles, I do believe in science and the good old ‘you never know’.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’m so sorry Sue. There are no words to say just that I know one night of getting it all wrong and saying ‘bollocks’ seems very little to ask for. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  11. TanGental says:

    Oh dear Sue, bollocks indeed. Those capricious gods playing their games. I can imagine there are times when it’s a one woman version of I’m A Celebrity, being fed dingos’ gonads while Dr Ant and Mr Dec pontificate. And yes, reading your needle sharp analysis will resonate, will help. You’ll have lots of coffee cups to count yet… all the very best and here’s to another Great Heather Event.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Ritu says:

    Oh, Sue…
    I have no words.
    Well, I do, but they are rather colourful.
    What I really want to do is to be able to give you a huge hug.
    My prayers are with you always 🙏🏽💜

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I. Have. No. Words. Sue. (Apes cry too) 🤗❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️🤗

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Pingback: One night only | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo | Campbells World

  15. Patty L. Fletcher says:

    I am sending you my loving energy. I wrap my arms around you and love. I wrap you in white light. And I go with you through this time. Love to you. I don’t have the right words to speak.

    Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  16. jenanita01 says:

    You have become such a big part of our lives, Sue… We too, sit and scream…

    Liked by 2 people

  17. collective7 says:

    Oh Sue. I have no words either, none anyway that I wish to type here. It is MOST unreasonable. Sending much love as always xx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. V.M.Sang says:

    Sue, although I only know you through your on-line presence, I feel that you are a real friend. Your wonderful posts have given me much food for thought. I enjoy your fantastic photographs and your thoughtful poems. Your humour, too, has kept me smiling.
    Reading this, I felt the tears coming. Yes, scream away, Sue, and I’ll scream with you. It seems so unfair.😭

    Liked by 2 people

  19. This is the first post I read today, and like everyone else, we all know that words fail –
    What I can say, is that from this moment on, I will keep a vision of you in my prayers each morning. I will keep this vision of you: to see the next heather, and more. Thank you for sharing this with the world and yes, indeed, there will be many others who will be most grateful for your generosity in sharing. Thank you for your words of wisdom and courage.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Reblogged this on Gifts of the Spirit Blog and commented:
    Some time ago I read a comment that remains with me over the years.
    “We are here to walk each other Home.” I think it is a Buddhist quote. But, I think this is a universal truth that we truely are here for this short span of time on the earth to be a comfort and an encourager of each other. When I read Sue Vincent’s blog post this morning, this is how I felt as she revealed the new truth that she is now facing. Gifts of the Spirit come to us individually and sometimes in very strange ways. As a follower of Jesus, I know that what he said is one size that fits all of us.
    “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. ”

    Just this past summer, my husband and I purchased our grave marker that will be installed on our grave site in our cemetary plot in The Village of Wurtemburg, where we live. The truth is that all of us are in the same boat with Sue – we are all on our journey Home and none of us know when exactly that day will arrive. But, we all know we are heading there every day.

    Let us keep each other in our prayers. When you think of Sue, as you read her post today, please keep Sue in your prayers.
    As we think of each other, at any time of the day or night, please whisper a prayer as you feel led to do at the time.

    I love this insight from the Bible, “We are a fragile breeze that will never return. ” I also know that when friends and family can no longer accompany me into eternity, I will be holding the hand of the One who overcame death and hell, and lives forever – Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Darlene says:

    I am very sorry my dear friend. Be strong, you are so loved by so many. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  22. gmvasey says:

    No words just .. we love you.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Such sad news. I’m sorry for what you’re going through.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. noelleg44 says:

    Bollocks, indeed, Sue. Go ahead and grieve – it’s one of the five steps you will go through emotionally. But what I see here is the old Sue, finger to the world, deciding how to live her life. I wish I could take on some of the load for you….

    Liked by 4 people

  25. memadtwo says:

    I’m so sorry Sue. As everyone has said, no words will suffice. You are indeed a bright spirit in my life, even though I only know you in this space. And will continue to be. Sending love, K.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. olganm says:


    Liked by 3 people

  27. quiall says:

    I cannot know what you are feeling. I have only been the one shaking and asking to be held. But I can tell you what I have seen. I saw a woman scream until she could no more and then she made a pact and a list. The pact was to live her life to the bitter end (kicking and screaming if necessary) and the list was of the things she wanted to do while she still could. It wasn’t a long list but it was meaningful, to her. Now you need to be selfish, hedonistic, indulgent. Don’t apologize for what gives you peace or makes you smile. This is YOUR show.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I think that is one of the hardest things…we have togo against all the conditioning we have poured upon us… and to which we ourselves have chosen to subscribe. We are not being ‘selfish’ to care for ourselves… and if that means the odd bit of indulgence, so be it. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  28. You have my love and support even from afar. I will always be grateful for the journeys you have taken me on, both in spirit and in person. As hard as this is for your loved ones, it will be okay. I don’t doubt for a moment your presence will be felt for a long time. You are one of a kind, and I hope you are able to enjoy some wonderful moments before it is time. Xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Frank Hubeny says:

    Best wishes. You are in my prayers. It doesn’t end after this. The prayers are not only for a recovery, but that one day we may meet for the first time.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. trentpmcd says:

    I’m very sorry, Sue. Words fail me, but know I am thinking of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. It’s all been said above, Sue. I’m a believer that as we leave this world, we go on to live somewhere else. What I don’t know is where that ‘somewhere’ is. But it’s there, somewhere. There’s no such thing as an ending – it’s just the place where we leave the story.
    I am sending more virtual hugs to you. They’ll reach you when you read this message. I hope they bring some comfort, just like all the hugs I remember at the first bloggers’ bash.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Marcia says:

    I’m not sure how it’s possible to care so much for someone on the other side of the world I’ve never met face to face, but somehow, you’ve made it so. Your posts have been (and will continue to be) filled with inspiration, joy, beauty, and, often, profound wisdom. Through them, you have connected with people all around the globe and enriched their lives. And in the process, have made us all care about you and yours. You are loved by many, and may that outpouring of love help sustain you during whatever this journey brings. You aren’t done yet, by damn! And you are still making a difference in the lives of others each and every day.

    Never underestimate the power of prayer and positive thinking, both of which are coming your way in huge quantities. And never underestimate yourself, either–not in what you have accomplished with your life already, nor in what you will still accomplish going forward. We ALL love you, Sue.

    Liked by 6 people

  33. Dalo 2013 says:

    You are such an inspiration, and with this heartbreaking post your words resonate. Facing such news as this, you write of the worry and sadness as if those words and emotions could come out of me, but then you add so much more wisdom, “…what’s different between me and everyone else then, except a bit of fair warning?” And your true heart shows with the words ~ “…because then, you wouldn’t feel them shake in your arms, or see the hurt and loss looming in their eyes, knowing that you can do nothing at all to stop that.” Emotional. Beautiful writing, and this process of sadness, this hurt, for however much I wish never would arrive are simply a part of life, and it is good for you to share this with us. It helps. Thank you very much for everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. CarolCooks2 says:

    I will always remember my son in law crying and telling me ” Carol it is the worst news” …The insurance companies paid out pronto as they do when a doctor signs the form and his words are stage 4…terminal…I remember my darling daughter saying to her oncologist that of course she will go on a trial if it helps someone else…I remember them telling her the cancer was a rare one and they had no known treatment but that they would just throw a cocktail of drugs at that bad boy to see what happens…she lost her hair, her eyelashes, her toenails, I remember our astonishment when this massive tumour shrivelled up and died and the wire they put through the middle so they get the radiotherapy in the correct spot was so hard to see as it had shrunk so much…I remember 2003 like it was yesterday…I must remember to ring my darling girl tomorrow…Not everyone is so lucky…I am praying to Buddha that you too will be another lucky one…another survivor…Much love and hugs Sue xxx

    Liked by 5 people

  35. Bollocks indeed. Sending you hugs and positive vibes. There is always hope and you are not done yet. As you said yourself, there is too much you want to do. Go for it. As for that one night only, you’re allowed: it’s OK not to be OK. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  36. I am so very sorry, Sue. It is hard to learn such a thing and to be given hope and have it taken away again is truly heart breaking. I can’t say anything to make it better but know that I do feel for you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you, Robbie. In the end, it changes little… we all share a journey from beiginning to end…and on again, I believe, to a new beginning. Thank you for your thoughts.


  37. besonian says:

    Quite stunning in its truth, Sue. And as reassuring. Your strength of spirit and the wisdom you show here is that same spirit and wisdom which has run through so many of your blog posts. You will have been – and are being even in this – a support to a great many people. Your words have so often had about them the ring of having sprung from some place far beyond this vale of tears. And in your case I’d even include ‘Oh, bollocks’ in that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you, Jeff. It was a heartfelt phrase last night. 🙂
      I can’t say all is sweetness and light tonight either… but I am here to feel it… so even this is a gift 🙂


  38. Oh Sue. This makes me so sad to hear. Let the feelings flow. Live it up with a capital “L.” You’re in my heart and thoughts.


  39. rivrvlogr says:

    You have been in my thoughts since I first learned of your condition, Sue, and you will be for the imaginable future.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. buffalopound says:

    Any chance you could make Cairn Holy before the spring, Sue? I know Mary is so looking forward to you getting there with her. Take care and thanks for writing about the human face of cancer. Not everyone can. Bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Widdershins says:

    Bollocks indeed!!! … and every other far less socially acceptable swear-word … not quite the ‘not-terrible’ news we were all hoping for, eh?
    We are here for you in whatever way you need us to be. I am here for you in whatever way you need me to be.
    The candle on the altar is lit, and will remain so.
    We can’t take this Path with you, but we’ll be the best damn cheer squad anyone’s ever had.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Eliza Waters says:

    You are one wise and strong woman, Sue. Bollocks, indeed, this stinks. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Pingback: Known, Yet Unknown | rivrvlogr

  44. I think you’re admirable for having goals like going to see things or watching heather bloom. But then again, I find instilling purpose behind my actions very important.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. barbtaub says:

    Reblogged this on Barb Taub and commented:
    When what you do is words and there are no words…

    Two of the best writers I know are going through the hardest of times, and sharing it with the world. I’m stunned by the beauty and pain, the words they have when there are no words.

    Sue’s journey below and Mary’s journey ( are terrible and beautiful and brave. But they’re also amazingly full of so many different kinds of hope—for the walk they’re going to take, the chicken they’re going to cook, the life they’re going live. And for all the words they’re going to share.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. We never did meet in person, but came so close when you came to Pembrokeshire – and the weather beat us, Sue. But I’ve ‘followed’ you for years and – though you haven’t known it – you’ve given me strength through many situations. And here you are again, sending out strong vibes and messages. So I’m sending good vibes right back at you. Stay strong, stay saying bollocks to it.Can’t say much more than that. Much love. Judith. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thanks, Judith.
      I hope there will yet be time to spend meeting people I’ve only known through the ether and living in this wworld that I love.
      And there is still a lot to see in Pembrokshire 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  47. Wendy Janes says:

    Sending love and a virtual hug to you, Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. dgkaye says:

    Like many here, I don’t know the right words Sue. I’m truly sorry. And you have every right to rant and scream. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  49. I have no words Sie, except to send you positive thoughts and hugs. (((( )))) Be selfish, coddle yourself, scream, rant, and rial if you want to there’s no shame in that. You are far braver than you think and thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Jennie says:

    I go from “bullocks” to tears. I have sorrow and love, but few words. Oh, Sue!!

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Léa says:

    Sue, like Barb, I follow both you and Mary. After reading her diary I was stunned to think of you both fighting this battle. While I’m impressed with the candor you share, I’m not surprised. Embrace all that you are and all those you love and know that there are legions of us around the globe sending you positive energy and love. Léa xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  52. I’m so sorry, Sue. It’s not often I’m at a loss for words! You’re in my thoughts now and always ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Deborah Jay says:

    Dammit, I’m so sorry your answers were not what we all hoped for. Like lots of others I feel like I’ve got to know you (and Ani) incredibly well without ever meeting in person – something I’d really hoped to do last month when you should have been visiting my end of the country before the damned virus squashed that trip. Any time you need to vent, go right ahead. We will all be here in support with, if nothing else, virtual hugs, inadequate though they are.

    Liked by 2 people

  54. Karen says:

    Love to you, Sue. My sister’s in the same boat right now and it’s tearing me apart. May you find peace in the simple things every day. Take care of your beautiful spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. macjam47 says:

    Sue, I am so sorry! You are strong and such a beautiful light to all who know you, even if many of us only know you virtually. My heart is breaking for you. Stay strong! I sending you lots of love, healing thoughts, and many, many prayers. Take care, dear friend. ❤️🙏🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Just to say, thinking of you, Sue. Lockdown gives time to reflect and send out good vibes. Jxx

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Susie Lindau says:

    Sue! I’m so sorry to hear this and it was months ago. Not sure you’ll even see this comment. I went through breast cancer. Living with fear was the worst part. STAY HOPEFUL, no matter what they tell you. My friend’s husband was stage 4 with tons of complications and he is now CANCER-FREE! They owe the miracle to prayer so I’ll remember you in mine.


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