The Cancer Memory Diary

Shortly after my diagnosis last summer I picked up a notebook I had been given for a birthday and began to fill it with memories. I felt I needed to download in case the worst happened, but instead of fear I found many happy places.

The Old Oak Tree…

I grew up on the same plot of land as my father had. My uncle and aunt had built a house a hundred yards further along the lane, and my grandmother lived in a mobile home at the side of our plot. I would visit grandma almost every day, playing hide-and-seek with the curtain hung over her door.

In front of her caravan was a horse chestnut tree planted by her younger brother, Jack, before he left for Australia. To one side was the christmas tree that had been on my parent’s kitchen table for their first christmas as a married couple. Today both trees tower over the old garden.

Grandma would laugh, and cough, then puff on her cigarette, and vanish inside as her kettle began to whistle. I was warned against bothering my grandma, but she never raised her voice or seemed to get annoyed.

She used to take me on walks along the lane to visit my aunt. When Grandma and Grandad bought the plot before the war the lane was just a cart track through the woods.

I remember the lane in summer. All the hedges are bursting with life and the light is so bright the gravelled lane shines like an unending ribbon of gold. It runs straight on to a vague horizon that was the extent of the known world at the time.

But the image, the memory, exists completely out of time. It is more than a moment, and if I gently focus my thoughts, I can re-inhabit that time and space and discover the overwhelming sense of wellbeing that comes with it.

About 14thcenturypoet

Author of The Legend of Zonza, an historical fantasy based on traditional Italian folk tales...
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