Looking both ways

It is a very strange situation to be in, really. Over a week ago, I was given ‘days to weeks’ to live, with no one knowing upon which side of that particular marker the Reaper would come calling. It isn’t as if we have it scheduled in our diaries… or, if he has, he hasn’t let me know. On the one hand, this is good. I am not sitting here like Pratchett’s Windle Poons, watching the clock and waiting for a no-show. On the other hand, I am both vaguely surprised and inordinately grateful every morning when I open my eyes on a new day,

It means that having much still to do and probably too little time left, I am working like a steam strain… albeit one whose pressure is running sadly low… to complete the tasks I think that really need to, or would like to complete before it is too late. To do so, I am working harder than perhaps I should… but even if I live more ‘days to weeks’ than expected, as the cancer is behind my eyes now and has already taken one of them, there is no guarantee I will be able to see to work for much longer.

So, I’m getting on with things. And all the while I know that, in the greater scheme, what matters to me personally right now may well not matter to anyone else at all. But that’s okay. You do what you feel is right.

One of the things I am getting on with is sorting the books. The earliest ones were written with Stuart in the throes of our excitement at having a genuine, esoteric adventure laid at our feet.  Because we wanted to share the excitement, the books went out in colour, making them so uncomfortably expensive it felt like daylight robbery to sell them at that price at all… even while we had no space for royalties built-in. So that is being rectified. Sorting things in the home… the business end of the dying process… that is all underway. I still need to live and pay the bills. I need to sell the car… and while I have reached a point where I could now eat anything I want and say to hell with the calories… I can no longer eat much at all and yet the shopping still has to be done. And every morning, a batch of texts and emails go out to simply say, ‘I’m still here…’

It is a very strange place in which to find yourself. But, like most strange things, it has two sides…

One of the real beauties of still being here is getting to glimpse my own eulogy, so to speak. From the thousands of messages that have made their way to my desktop… from the Carrot Ranch’s Rodeo, to the comments and emails through the blog as well as the personal friends and family… It has astonished me to see and feel the love out there. The sheer volume of communication is something I would never in a million years have expected and for which I am grateful beyond words.   It is undoubtedly a healing experience for a heart that has been through the mill more than once in its time. And, as I have said before, it offers its healing to more than me alone, as my sons and those I love see that I touched lives beyond my own too.

For every beauty, though, there is another side… and it is not always obvious which is which. Every friend who reaches out to say goodbye at this moment is reaching out to one person… one farewell. Those of us who know we are about to leave are reaching out too… but for us, the goodbyes are magnified, numbered in their hundreds… and each one carries both its own joy and grief… the griefs of parting are inevitable, but the joys of having shared time together, in the realms of imagination, virtual reality or the wonderful human world of the heart, they are worth any number of tears.

Love wears many faces, from the life-sharing depths of parenthood and partnership, to the life-affirming gifts of kindness and friendship… there are so many ways to express and share it that we could never exhaust its abundance.

How do you judge which side of the coin is ‘better’? To have not loved and laughed together, not felt the joy that must always hold a kernel of potential grief at its heart? Or to pass quietly and serenely without the searing heartaches of love to accompany each farewell?

If each tear is an echo of joy, each touch recalls tenderness, and each sigh remembers laughter. I know which I would choose.

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 scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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129 Responses to Looking both ways

  1. Jean Lamb says:

    {{{HUGS}}}

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheri Dye says:

    My prayers to you and your loved ones. Stay strong.🌹

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sadje says:

    This is such an unusual opportunity for you and those who love you. Seldom do people get the chance to say goodbye. And often this is one of the regrets felt by those left behind. I am truly grateful that I got to know you and got to interact with you for some while. Wishing you and your family ease in these difficult days. Prayers and hugs Sue.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Keep finding the jobs, Sue… they seem to be working… XXX

    Liked by 2 people

  5. restlessjo says:

    I can feel the love every time I come here, and I hope I can keep on coming. You are an amazing lady, Sue! And I love the headstone in your photo 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Darlene says:

    To have loved and been loved is the greatest gift of all. 💕

    Like

  7. I came across the quote from AA Milne recently as I am on the other side dealing with the loss of someone – I hope it comforts you “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on pensitivity101 and commented:
    Another wonderful post from Sue, full of insight, observations and honesty.
    Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. V.M.Sang says:

    You are an amazing woman, Sue, and are facing this with strength. I admire you and how you are managing to continue to post on your blog.
    I feel privileged to have known you, if only virtually. You have inspired so many people and you have made a difference to the world.
    Hugs

    Like

  10. willowdot21 says:

    Thank you from us all. I love you 💜

    Like

  11. willowdot21 says:

    Reblogged this on willowdot21 and commented:
    The beauty of joy and sorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. beth says:

    you are in a most unique point in time, and in a way a gift, to be able to say all of this. most people never get the chance, you are a living legacy. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  13. quiall says:

    You will continue to inspire us.

    Like

  14. gmvasey says:

    You have no idea what a joy it is to see an email from you saying I’m still here! And the stuff you are doing is wonderful – your writings and books carry an important message and not just that, they are a shining example of a life well and magically lived. Love.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. gmvasey says:

    Reblogged this on Earth Magic Brno and commented:
    Words from Sue….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I cherish every new communication from you, Sue. Keep working, my friend, to tie up all those loose story threads. I hope you find deep joy and satisfaction with each completed task, and only you can determine what still needs your attention. As always, you are in my prayers. Love and hugs!

    Like

  17. This… “If each tear is an echo of joy, each touch recalls tenderness, and each sigh remembers laughter. I know which I would choose.” speaks beautifully to what matters. ❤️❤️

    Like

  18. Fill your head with the sounds of the wild
    the faces of friends
    the taste of the wind and the sun.

    Store flower heads opened petals fallen
    cupped hands dripping spring water
    the swirl of autumn leaves.

    Take red and blue and green
    and the yellow that is almost gold
    silver moonlight and the pearl of mysteries.

    Walk with dogs and children
    fly with birds and listen with a thousand ears
    to the songs of the birds.

    Take us all
    you have room enough
    in your heart.

    Like

  19. Jim Borden says:

    thank you for continuing to put out these wonderful posts that give us time to pause and to think about what is important. Here’s to more “opening your eyes to a new day”.

    Like

  20. fransiweinstein says:

    Thank you yet again, Sue, for sharing your innermost thoughts, your words and your wisdom. Your messages are so profound, so beautiful and hold so much meaning for me. I will be forever grateful that I stumbled upon your blog so many years ago and that we have gotten to know each other and share our experiences. I am also grateful that, through your writing, you will always be a part of my life.

    Like

  21. trentpmcd says:

    I’m glad you are still able to work and are communicating. As you said, much better than watching those grains of sand fall. My guess is that if you were only paying attention to the ticks of the clock, there would be far fewer of them than there are with you living your life while it can still be lived. BTW, I love that stone at the top of the post 🙂

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I definitely agree with you there, Trent, and burning both ends of the candle, as they say, at least lights up the room 😉
      The stone is superb, isn’t it? Mosaic eyes too… and just plonked by the side of a hidden Derbyshire lane, where few will ever see it.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. How can I press like? It’s an indication that I appreciate your words and thoughts. You have made me think. Thank you.

    Like

  23. I’m glad you write these – you’ve got a really uplifting personality, and even though I hope the posts are cathartic for you, I can guarantee they make me feel some human connection (even across the pond and cyberspace!).

    Like

  24. -Eugenia says:

    Keep working on life, Sue, because that is what life is – doing and living in every moment. You are amazing and a real gem, my friend. Sending hugs and prayers. ❤️

    Like

  25. noelleg44 says:

    I know which one you have chosen, too, Sue. Keep on living to the fullest! Angel’s wings with hugs coming your way…

    Like

  26. My heart skips with joy whenever I see a post from you Sue, not only because they’re always beautiful and inspirational, but also because it means you’re still here with us. Being able to say goodbye is so important. I lost my dad to a brain tumor when I was 16, and although I knew what was coming, I wasn’t there at the hospital when he passed and not being able to say that final goodbye has always haunted me.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I have felt so grateful to be ableto pend time with my sons and granddaughters these past weeks. We may not be together at the very end… but we have had time, and that mattres so much.
      Hugs to you. x

      Liked by 3 people

  27. merrildsmith says:

    Thinking of you. ❤️ It is a horrible situation, but it is also–as you say–something to be grateful for that you are getting to say goodbye, as well as to have loved and been loved.

    Like

  28. TamrahJo says:

    So many thoughts of joy and ….. possibilities? when I read this – yay! one more day! Then, I remembered the hours long phone call Dad and I had one Sunday morning, on the power of prayer and love – and the thought entered my mind unbidden….what if? What if the millions of hugs, loves, prayers, well wishes – what if each one of them ‘took out’ part of the ‘rogue within’ – ? Not mine to say, nor my wish to intefere with another’s destiny or path – on the other hand – i also remember all the tales of ‘spontaneous remission’ after modern medicine gave up – and folks were sent home with no restrictions on anything – allowed to do whatever they wished – – and so, for me? Each day is a two-side coin, as well – flipping between fond and loving bon voyage – pre-trip party AND throwing a ‘welcome home’ party each time you return from dreamland’s ‘short excursion’ – :). ❤

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I am grateful for the time I have been granted and for every moment I am given with those I love… but as Nick keeps reminding me, miracles can happen. Ifthey don’t, they already have 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • TamrahJo says:

        Miracles abound as long as we are paying attention! :). ❤

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          And if they are appropriate 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • TamrahJo says:

            appropriate in asking for? or noticing? For me? In the Universal World? My signature line for all ‘noticing/asking’ etc., carries the tagline of ‘for the highest good of all involved’ in case I’m ‘stepping on toes, wishing for the inappropriate’ for overall beauty and order – – LOL 🙂

            Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              That one covers pretty much everything 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              • TamrahJo says:

                I am such a fan of one stop shopping until I’m not – in the Universal Store? Don’t feel like I’m one stop shopping and supporting evil – – LOL

                Like

              • Sue Vincent says:

                Keeping it simple works for me 😉

                Like

              • TamrahJo says:

                The “Main Star” (sun) is shining, just now – where I am at – – I walked out to see Oakley girl soaking up the warmth for older joints, Vitamin D for heart – and walked back in thinking, “Thank goodness for this day of no storm fronts passing through – I can sit in front of the computer and do some work/connection etc., without sighing and thinking, “meh – I really just want to take a nap to escape the pain of MY joints!” – – LOL. Such a small thing, really – but, for today? It’s Good Enough!

                Like

              • Sue Vincent says:

                It doesn’t take much some days to make a good day 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

              • TamrahJo says:

                Yup – which is why, on most days? No matter what? I ‘look for’ any miracle that shows up – – Oakely girl still alive – – Sue posted – – the sun is shining – I woke up AND no deep pain – Ta-DA! Miraculous! My mom woke up to see spring bulbs pushing out from the ground and is already in pre-mourning, cuz she KNOWS they will get destroyed/nipped in the bud by late freeze in her area – – sigh – she cannot stand my ‘plan for the worst’ operations in politics/everyday life, but I made her laugh when I said, “Planning for the worse in bulb land, are we???” – – LOL

                Like

              • Sue Vincent says:

                Ah I can understand that… freezing cold here, but the prunus is in flower…

                Like

              • TamrahJo says:

                I posted on wrong thread, so double posting!!! “[My mom’s] funny that way, celebrating special occasions with blue food. I think it’s her way of saying anything is possible. Percy can pass seventh grade. Waffles can be blue. Little miracles like that.”
                ― Rick Riordan

                Liked by 1 person

              • TamrahJo says:

                “[My mom’s] funny that way, celebrating special occasions with blue food. I think it’s her way of saying anything is possible. Percy can pass seventh grade. Waffles can be blue. Little miracles like that.”
                ― Rick Riordan

                Like

              • Sue Vincent says:

                I approve of that:)

                Liked by 1 person

  29. memadtwo says:

    Every day I see your words is also a gift to me. All that you have given us will remain–I hope you know that. Time is elastic and you have learned to use it well. So who knows? (K)

    Like

  30. It is much better to have loved, Sue, and suffer any resultant heartache, than not to have experienced this joy. I think of you every day.

    Like

  31. rkrontheroad says:

    Each day is like another gift from you, your heart, your honesty. We are listening and loving.

    Like

  32. TanGental says:

    As I ponder an appropriate comment the scene from Monty Python and the Holy grail comes to mind as they barrow an old man away to the cry of Bring out your dead! And he chimes I’m not dead yet. And the the embarrassment in The Life of Brian of the cured leper still begging. Yes, I’d really wish to embarrass you in the spring next year when you’re still blogging. That’s my wish and every one here. We want you embarassed, please!

    Like

  33. Widdershins says:

    Each day, when I get up I light a candle on my altar for you. At some point throughout the day I gently blow it out. I light the candle to celebrate you in my life and I blow it out as a reminder to myself that you are merely moving on, and will not be gone. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Hugs and prayers…

    Like

  35. Eliza Waters says:

    Your circle of influence is vast, Sue. You have touched so many lives in a beautiful way. When you mentioned awakening in gratitude, I realized that I’ve started doing the same, so thanks for waking me up to being grateful for what time I have been given and have left. Love you lots! ❤
    Tell Nick the maple sugaring season has started, I always think of him loving the maple cream. 🙂

    Like

  36. Hugs, Sue. You are well loved for sure, and though the tears and heartache are hard, oh, I would choose the same as you. ❤ ❤

    Like

  37. dgkaye says:

    Sue, your words will always live on. And you are leaving a legacy of your life for the world to enjoy. My heart is heavy for you Sue. You are always in my prayers. ❤ xx

    Like

  38. Jan Sikes says:

    You are such a shining light and inspiration, Sue. You are so right when you say Love wears many faces. What an incredible journey to be in a human body on earth, even a body that is failing you. Sending light and love. Angels are strongly with you. Feel their love.

    Like

  39. Jennie says:

    I woke up this Sunday morning to your post. Thank you for giving me such love today. I have been given the gift of ‘one-more-Sue-day’, words that feel so good. Thank you!

    Like

  40. Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet and commented:
    PLEASE Come and spend some precious time with Sue Vincent!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Camryn says:

    Your history will live on, Sue. Your poems and writing will never be lost, for they have been archived in the hearts of many. We may lose you physically, but not in our hearts.💖💖

    Like

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