Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Friday 12th December

It is necessary, I think, at times to simply rejuvenate one’s soul. For some of us, this happens while doing certain activities, or experiencing different views or thoughts. For others, it is about places.

So it is with me.

I find that going to the farm is about a whole lot of things, like enjoying the space, the history and the experience. But, mostly, it is also about rejuvenating my soul.

I wanted to go to the farm for the weekend before my birthday. Fate, I guess, had another plan for me (like having to have major surgery and things like that!) We’d hoped to go to Sedge via the farm – which isn’t exactly on the way, but is a detour that can be made with a little effort (and petrol) and is just wonderful to do.

Then came the complications of chemo and the question of timing. My next chemo is on the 15th. I did some of my own investigating and found out that I could have the treatment in George, which meant that we could go to the farm and then Sedge – then ‘pop in’ to George for the treatment. The doc was fine with this, but said that most of his patients find that the medical aids are a nightmare.

So true.

So, I am having the chemo in Joburg. And we came to the farm before. With a huge trailer load of furniture.

Practical Mum would have approved. Not only did we manage to make the trip for the reasons like just being here, feeling re-connected with the history and the question of rejuvenating everyone, but we also managed to make the whole thing about continuing to help to sort out the house. This was the last load of ‘goods’ that had to find a home.

So, now the lounge suite from 55 is in the lounge at the farm, looking wonderfully familiar and remarkably at home. There are a couple of chairs in the cottage and some beds from 55 are here too. The memories have been spread.

There have been wonderful rains and everything here is green: very, very green. And lush. There must have been a huge fire up the valley, because the mountains are covered with short, bright green grass – the world re-birthing itself after the destruction of fire. It reminds me of the time when we scattered Dad’s ashes. The day of his funeral, in fact, there was a huge fire that raged through the whole farm, burning everything and rendering the land black and harsh. It was as though the world was in mourning with us. Now Mum has gone and here we are at the farm again. We still have not scattered her ashes – timing, circumstance and events have been against us being able to arrange this yet. It’s as though the world knows, though. There was, obviously, a great burn. A great mourning.

But then there is the moving forward. The regrowth. The rejuvenation.

Especially with the next chemo coming, I have been feeling very stressed and trepidatious. I don’t want to feel like I have been for the last 3 weeks again, let alone for another 3 weeks or more.  At this stage, I am even projecting into January. My mouth is so sore I can hardly eat at times and I am so very, very tired. How long will it last after the last chemo? The whole thing makes me feel a chill of dread. (Heaven help anyone who tells me, directly after the last chemo, that it is over. ;( )

And then we came here.

I am still definitely not feeling happy about chemo on Monday. I am also definitely not looking forward to feeling nauseous, having a stomach ache and having these sores in my mouth carry on and on. I am also definitely not looking forward to being pricked – again – to give blood and to have the drip put in.

Somehow, though, it doesn’t feel quite so bad, now. There is something about being at the farm, doing things like unloading furniture, shopping (up a storm, as Alison would say), walking up the valley and playing in the river that feeds a different part of me.

Chemo doesn’t seem so bad when life holds these gems and this place to return to, whenever I can, to remind my soul that there is richness everywhere.

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