Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 14th April

Today I entered another world. I am in Bloem because I am co-facilitating a workshop at the university. I am also staying in a really lovely hotel. Not something I do very often! Really lovely and really (as Jayne would say) ‘spoily’.

At the same time that it feels so alien in many ways, it also feels as though this is where I should be right now. It also feels like so very far away from home – almost foreign. Even though the flight to Bloem is only 49 minutes [ J ], the whole experience of the Gautrain, airport, flight and ‘foreign’ place feels very much like I really have travelled far away. The hotel is just part of the process.

It’s a bit strange to feel that we passed through here not that long ago, as part of the long journey home.

I have been stressed about leaving everyone at home, because I know it’s always nicer and easier with mummy in place. Now that I’m here, it just brings it home again that everyone will be fine and can get on with what has to happen. Maybe that should make me feel a bit sad, but it actually makes me feel relieved that everything is up and running along.

Life is like that, I think: things just keep going and we do what has to be done and meet the deadlines and challenges that need to be met. It has something to do with necessity and also resilience. I think we are all much more resilient than we realise – until something really horrible, or threatening, perhaps, stares us in the face. Then our resilience comes to the fore.

From the beginning of the cancer thing, I have been quite adamant, really, that this is something that can be dealt with, a journey that can be followed successfully and a mountain that will be climbed.

A lot of that has been about mindset and choice. And I have been right. I still am. This can be done.

What about everyone else close to me, though? What about the depths of courage, strength and resilience this whole cancer thing has demanded they rely on? This is not actually just my journey – well, not alone, anyway. It is actually the catalyst for a whole lot of journeys, as everyone close to me has had their own experience and their own way of dealing with the different things that have happened.

That is what life, really, not cancer is about: facing things that happen, often to others you care about, and having to make sense of what is happening for yourself. It is often about digging deep into yourself to pull out feelings, approaches and strengths you either never knew you had, or which you may have forgotten.

Sometimes, we can take things foregranted and yet they are there and, often, necessary to help us on our journeys. Not the least of these is the sheer resilience of the human soul.

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