Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 14th December

Home. Briefly. Before the chemo ‘pit-stop’ and we set off for Sedgefield.

Home truly is where the heart is. It seems, though, that we are capable of having different homes. Or senses of being at home.

For me, the farm is home in many ways. That is where a lot of my history lies, where I feel in touch with my heritage, where I have been going since I was born and where Dad was born and his ashes are scattered.

Then there is Sedgefield. Dad and Mum both loved it there and Dad died there. I have only been going there for 20 years, but it has become so much a part of who I am and how we function that it feels as though it has been there forever.

Umdloti also feels like home when we are there. We used to go and stay in Uncle Purdon’s cottage every December and, although that has changed, there is no doubt that part of my heart will always be there.

Then there is Joburg. Really my home. I love it here. I’m not even sure why half the time, but I do. Joburg is where 55 is – so much of a home to all of us for, literally, our whole lives so far.

Joburg is also where our house is, where the six of us have lived for a long time. The house is very full (especially at the moment, after the great ’55 clear up’) of so much, so many things, so many possessions and, even more importantly, so many images and many, many memories.

I am now half way through my chemo – the night before no.3.

I had toyed with the idea of going to Sedge early and having the chemo in George, but the medical aid logistics were too overwhelming. So here we are, kind of in the process of being on holiday. I am really not looking forward to the long journey to Sedge straight after chemo, but I would far rather that than sit around and wait to feel better so that I could travel happily. Hell, that may take 2 weeks! I am glad, though, that it is here, at home, that I wait for tomorrow. There is something about being in familiar, happy surroundings that just gives comfort and makes everything feel calmer.

I love Sedgefield. I am so happy that we are going there and that I will have the time on the beach and in the house to be able to spend dealing with the side-effects of the chemo.

I am as happy, though, to be here and not down there for the actual process.

Home, the place of the heart, can help so much with managing the whole process and experience of being treated.

I face tomorrow and the aftermath with an amount of dread. But also, with the comfort of familiarity.


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