Chasing Daylight and My Thoughts…

Chasing Daylight:How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life Kindle Edition

“Must the end of life be the worst part?

Can it be made the best?”

At 53, Eugene O’Kelly was in the full swing of life. Chairman and CEO of KPMG, one of the largest U.S. accounting firms, he enjoyed a successful career and drew happiness from his wife, children, family, and close friends. He was thinking ahead: the next business trip, the firm’s continued success, weekend plans with his wife, his daughter’s first day of eighth grade.

Then in May 2005, Gene was diagnosed with late-stage brain cancer and given three to six months to live. Just like that.

Now a growing darkness was absorbing the bright future he had seen for himself. He would have to change his plans, quickly, and capture what he could of his last diminishing days.

Chasing Daylight is the account of his final journey. Starting from the time of his diagnosis and concluded upon his death less than four months later, this book is his unforgettable story.

With startling intimacy, it chronicles the dissolution of Eugene O’Kelly’s life and his gradual awakening to a more profound understanding. Interweaving unsettling details of his battle with cancer with his moment-to-moment reflections on life and death, love and success, spirituality and the search for meaning, it provides a testament to the power of the human spirit and a compelling message about how to live a more vivid, balanced, and meaningful life.

Inspiring, passionate, deeply insightful, Chasing Daylight is a remarkable man’s poignant farewell to a beloved world.

What I Thought

I have been reading a beautifully written and thought-provoking book this week, called, ‘Chasing Daylight’ by Eugene O’Kelly. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did, for all sorts of reasons.

For a start, it is all about how he handled the fact that he had only months to live following the discovery of several brain tumours.  I thought it might be hard going, considering I almost died from a heart attack myself years ago, and still feel I am on borrowed time sometimes.

I started to read, pleased to discover that he handled the news well, that he was determined to die with dignity… all very profound and somewhat comforting to me. He goes on to describe how he said a pleasant ‘goodbye’ to all his hundreds of friends, and I found myself looking back at my own life. At what I had achieved, and what I hadn’t, how many people’s lives had I touched.

Three quarters of the way through the book I began to feel sad – not for him, but for me.
You see, I know now for sure that my life has not been that exciting or profound. Too much heartbreak and disasters for a start.
I have been a loner for most of my life, which will probably be a good thing, as there won’t be masses of people saddened by my passing.
That’s if I decide to go (I am still undecided about that!)
As Dylan Thomas said, I will ‘rage against the dying of the light’ as I still feel there is something I haven’t done or achieved yet, and there is still time!
Still time to think about all the things I still want to do, or see, or achieve. ‘Never too late’ is fast becoming a mantra and I wonder what will happen next?

There is a lot to be said for dying suddenly. No time to worry about it or try to plan it, neither of which is very desirable. Mr O’Kelly learned to meditate and unwind using water, something I have been doing all my life. Rivers, waterfalls, the sea, all have a deep profound effect on me. The only thing that does.

So, ‘Chasing Daylight’ was sad but uplifting in a way. The fact that his illness was painless was a blessing and to be desired by all of us, and possibly what stops this book becoming a harrowing reading experience.




Friday Message from us to you…

Friday seems to come around faster than ever these days, but we hope life has been kind to each and every one of you.

Today, we offer two of Anita’s poems and a brand new episode of Teagan Geneviene’s Dead of Winter for your enjoyment.

Journey Nine and it sounds even more exciting!

Not so many reblogs today, but a specially chosen flower to wish you all a peaceful and happy weekend…

The Past…

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Is it old age that has the past rushing in like a raging river?

Lost moments remembered.

The way my legs felt after taking off my roller skates, they were still there, like a phantom limb, my dad said.

The way my backside ached, playing on my bike all day. No trouble leaving the front door open, people walk in any time of the day.

Kettle always on the boil, no worries as to the lateness of the hour.

We were safe playing out after dark. That’s when I took notice of the stars.

A penny would buy a bag of broken biscuits, keep me going until teatime.

Or a bag of chips if you remembered to bring old newspapers.

Running errands for the neighbours meant I always had money to spend.

Mum gave me a shilling a week pocket money, with that I could go swimming, buy a bag of chips after.

Walking home with hot chips in my hand wrapped in newspaper, one of my best memories.

It’s not the same today, they come in polystyrene boxes.

I took my granddaughter swimming. There’s no diving, no jumping, no fun

Just swim up and down. We used to chase each other beneath the water

Pull each other under, who could make the biggest splash is frowned upon now.

Some places had a diving pool only, which feels sterile to me.

That’s the way of things these days, we all walk on tiptoes.

Could be the past should stay behind a dark curtain…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Jaye’s Week…

In an effort to ignore what’s going on all around me, both in the world and in our house, (Anita has an appointment next week at the hospital) I have been trying to bury my head in the computer, trying to catch up on all the things I haven’t managed to get around to lately. In my wildest dreams, I could never have dreamed what I would be getting up to in my advancing years. Just goes to show how far you can come if you let yourself dream big.

I have always hated anything to do with computers for they are illogical, slow and complicated. I firmly believe they were sent by the devil to drive us all mad. At least, that’s what happens in our house!

But it wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when the idea of a machine with such amazing capabilities did seem like a fantastic advantage. But my first encounter with one, some thirty years ago, probably ruined me for life. This was when it was in its infancy, and you had to upload or input reams of data to do even the simplest thing. My son was playing chess on this strange looking box and I wanted to have a go. What he forgot to mention, was if you made even a small mistake in entering this data (which seemed to take hours) you would get a big fat nothing. Stubbornly, I tried and tried but failed to get it to work.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, when Indie publishing started making headlines.

Despite my earlier disappointment, I felt myself warming to the idea. I wouldn’t have to input masses of data like before, so maybe it would be easier to use. We all know the answer to that supposition, don’t we?

I still hate computers with a passion, but I do appreciate just how wonderful they are if you can learn the ropes. I still have days when I could beat mine to death with a mallet, but this is more to do with my stubborn brain than anything else. Because they can sometimes do so many amazing things, it encourages us mortals to reach for the stars.

Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, I can remember wondering if I would ever write a book, and now I have written four, well, six if you count the non-fiction ones and am close to finishing another. At the time, I was happily editing Anita’s books. I never thought a muse would bother me.

When it did, I was astonished by just how addictive writing can become. The most surprising thing was the behaviour of my characters. They became like old friends, and I enjoyed their company so much, the first book turned into a series. Even now, they are nagging me to let them loose again!

It has been an amazing and often terrifying journey, from that first ever blog post to eventually formatting e-books, paperback copies and book trailers. Learning how to publish a book was hard, but the writing was the best part, once I convinced myself that it was something I could do, after all.

None of which was easy for the biggest technophobe this side of Microsoft, someone who battles technology every single day for that magical moment when realisation dawns and I finally understands how things work.

I am well past retiring age now, but I am busier than ever and have no intentions of slowing down or stopping, for where would the fun be in that?

This journey still has some mileage, however, for there are a few things I haven’t attempted yet, and several that need improving. So I won’t be putting away my thinking cap just yet.

As they said when I was at school, “There is always room for improvement…”


What I Really Thought of Come Away …

I found myself watching this film with the family over the weekend and almost gave up on it, as I am not found of remakes or mash ups.

At first, I thought someone had been playing around with some idea of artistic licence, distorting the original story. Usually this means it will bear little if any resemblance to the classic fairy-tale.

What I didn’t realise, was that they had been doing that, but with two well-known classics, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.

The cast of Come Away seemed to be a bit of an experiment too, and the more I watched, the more I wished I were somewhere else. Watching Angelina Jolie’s face, I had the feeling she did too.

In all fairness to the producer, the storyline isn’t bad, if a little predictable, but the lack of any decent magic was unfortunate, if inexcusable.

There was the occasional light sprinkling of fairy dust, but this does not a fairy-tale make. Tinkerbell was actually represented by a tiny golden bell. Need I say more?

A disappointingly tragic story that I am sorry I watched…

I wonder what you made of it?

White Ghosts… #Poetry

 Image by tatlin from Pixabay

 

Grey clouds on white candy
Black clouds carrying heavy rain
Lovers kiss beneath outstretched umbrellas
Rain splashed pavements wait for blue skies
White prisms of light shine on polished leaves
Trees sway, shedding their last teardrops
The earth greedy with thirst
Eagerly swallows each tear
White ghosts painted on blue skies
Light souls shining through
Touching those below, covering
The earth with memory
Waiting to be remembered
Grey clouds dropping rain
Showering the earth with secrets
Children splash in puddles
As other feet did years ago
Lift your face to the clouds
Taste the rain upon your lips
Do you remember?
Does the taste of something lost, come to mind?
Clouds will bring the rain again
Teasing you, daring you to remember
Secrets of the past hidden in each drop
Clouds pass, unseen by many below
Tilt your head, see the magic they make
The shapes and wonder of sky art…
White bleached clouds sail across blue skies
The day is washed clean as if by magic
Pink clouds hiding behind pillars of white
The day sails through to the purple hue of evening
All is well with my world…

© Anita Dawes 2021

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Jaye’s Week (Not the Best I’m afraid!)

The week hasn’t started yet, and I’m already worrying enough for six people.

You see, because I haven’t been posting about my sister’s health lately, most of you probably think she is doing well. The truth is somewhat sadder, I’m afraid.

Although Anita really did appreciate everyone’s good wishes last year, she said she needed to move on and concentrate on getting better, so asked me to stop the updates. The loss of her health has come as a shock to all of us, including Anita as she has always been the healthiest member of our family. We have since discovered that although she is the head of the family, always first with help and advice when we all need it, she is the worst patient in the world and exceedingly difficult to take care of!

Despite her will power, (and most of mine!) there are still days when she struggles to breathe and has very little strength. Her quality of life drags on the floor and some days we fear for the worst. We are constantly being assured that the pacemaker thingy is doing its job, but at the same time, they admit to the setting being very low to avoid straining her severely damaged heart.

Eventually, our concerns filtered through to the consultant, who rang our house and spoke to Anita at length, resulting in appointments for several tests this week. An Echocardiogram and an Angiogram, blood tests etc. A stent was mentioned, too, so all being well, we may eventually have good news.

In the meantime, though, I am having trouble concentrating on anything, but desperate to keep busy…

Anita Speaks…

I don’t know if its old age, pushing inspiration so far back, but my mind has this large empty space. It keeps telling me I will never write a new novel. That those 400 white pages scare the bejesus out of me.

So, I tell myself, try a novella, as it seems weeks ago when I last held the pencil. It would seem I am only good for short pieces and poetry. These, I still love to do.

Words press against my mind, asking to be written. Late at night, there are different kinds of thoughts. Words that do not want to be read by anyone.

Thoughts I must keep to myself. The kind of things you wouldn’t speak in daylight. They pop up like some kind of evil demon, a black shadow most of us would rather deny. Keeping the beast well caged, we try to get on with the day.

The rains stops, there is a rainbow. Sunlight through your window reminding you of the magic this world has to offer.

Old age disappears for a while. I grab at this new enthusiasm with both hands, wondering what I will make of it.

Watch this space! They are right, old age is just a number.

It’s as loaded as you want it to be…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Jaye’s Week… Swings and Roundabouts

My brain needs a disciplinary, as I can no longer make it behave.

Mind you, it must be contagious, for my laptop and tablet are exhibiting similar tendencies.

I have just spent the best part of an hour, first with the laptop and then the tablet, trying to run through my emails from the comfort of my armchair.

The laptop was on a go-slow, so I switched to the tablet.

This annoying piece of crap had decided not to respond at all. Patience personified, I kept trying, only for the battery to drain away faster than a chocolate teapot. Something it shouldn’t have been able to do, seeing as it wasn’t actually doing anything.

I can feel the day coming when I will take a hammer to the both of them, as I am not sure how much longer my brain can cope with these insanity-inducing contraptions.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t aware of all the wonderful things they can do. When in a good mood, of course.

But I ask you, is it asking too much to have a piece of equipment that actually does what it says on the tin?

We wouldn’t stand for such substandard performance from any other electrical object, so for all that’s Holy, why do we put up with it?

The main desktop PC is not immune to such shenanigans, it’s just sneakier. Its favourite trick at the moment is ignoring whole sentences while I am busy typing them.

I get no warning, no sign that something has gone awry. The first I know about it is when I try to read the work back, only to find yawning great holes where parts of my story are missing.

I tell you, it is beginning to feel like a conspiracy…

On the bright side, and I do try to find this, even on grey days, nothing affects my pen and paper. Sometimes I am so glad that I can write, blissfully, as far away from technology as I can get. As happy as Larry, knowing that I am in total charge of the creative process.

So, to end on a much happier note, I have to report that the first draft of Swan Song, my WIP, is taking shape. I was slow to get cracking but it was good to get back in the saddle again…

© Jaye Marie 2020

A Hundred Lifetimes… ~ #Poetry

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I am eighteen and my life is broken
I need a new one. With no idea how
or where to find one. Some would say
I am too young to give up on life.
They would feel the same if they had
a hundred lifetimes stuck inside their heads
Their voices, their faces swirl around like a cyclone
All vying for attention, needing to be heard
To be remembered. There is one girl
that shows up more often than the others.
She looks like me, could almost be a twin
All but for the scar on my chin.
Riding home on my bike from college, I hit a small pothole
 I flew over the handlebars and landed flat on my face.
Helped up by a passing stranger,
who gave me a hanky for the blood dripping from my chin.
Walking the rest of the way home, I realised
I could no longer hear the voices in my head
They were all gone. I was the only one left
I felt ready to begin my life again…

©anitadawes 2020