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Non, je ne regrette rien!

The saying goes that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and I can affirm that this is untrue – a visit from your son is the best! Just a 3 day dose of time with my lad, Charlie, is perfect for restoring your emotional and mental balance, providing much-needed pain relief by way of distraction and feelings of joy and gratitude. Sorry, I won’t be renting him out – I have 100% guardianship of this boy 😊 But actually, the memories of this Xmas visit lead me nicely onto the topic of this post – that of how you face mortality… The quote in the post’s title is a well-known song, originally by the French chanteuse, Edith Piaf and it sums up how I believe I am coping with the inevitable thoughts of my death. It used to be something to which I gave little thought; after all, who wants to spend their time living, thinking about death? I only began facing the practicalities of my demise once I knew my blood results were showing deadly signs and I had to face the fact that, even with the treatment, I would still be living with incurable cancer. Naturally, it’s not terribly pleasant thinking about even the logistics of preparing for one’s death, but there is an unexpected benefit and that is the reflection on one’s life so far and how one can make the most of one’s time left. The reflection comes, of course from memories and physical reminders of how one has lived life. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on my life, both consciously and in sleep through dreams and, to get to the point, I am really rather thrilled by the life I’ve had so far and ‘je ne regrette rien’!

I did some reading on the topic of regret as I’ve long aspired to live my life without generating any. It seems that research shows us there are 4 main types of human regret:

1. Foundational: having stability and security in one’s life

2. Boldness: living with the opportunity and ability to take risks

3. Moral: doing the ‘right’ thing by one’s own and society’s moral compass

4. Connection: living your life with people in it that you love and who love you

I can honestly say that I have very few regrets in any of these areas. I am not by any means saying that I have lived my life without making any mistakes, naturally I have done things which could have gone better, but I don’t harbour any regrets about things I haven’t done, because I genuinely can’t think of a time when I didn’t act, take a risk or accept a challenge. In this respect, I truly have lived my life recklessly; my late Mum used to despair of my next adventure, or crazy, spontaneous acts. She always used to describe me as someone who wanted to start conquering the next mountain before I had even completed the ascent of the mountain I was on! And so, I feel very ‘at peace’ with my life so far, despite there sometimes being unanticipated consequences as a result of my actions, but I can’t regret those, because I know I would have regretted far more not doing those things.

I’m not exactly ‘close to death’ right now, but even without cancer, advancing years means by default we get closer every day and I crossed the point some years ago that means I have less days left than I’ve had. However, thinking about the practicalities of wills, financial dealings, a funeral and the biggest pain in the neck, de-cluttering so my poor Charlie doesn’t have to spend weeks going through boxes of my old junk, does inevitably make you think of your life as finite.

And finally on the topic of mortality, I find this quote in Howard’s End by E.M. Forster very comforting and apposite: “Death destroys man: the idea of death saves him”. I have certainly found that contemplating my life so far has helped me enormously to value the life I still have left and I still have the determination to climb many more mountains!

I appreciate that some subscribers enjoy the more practical observations in my blog posts, while others prefer the more philosophical discussions. As I have focused on the latter in this post, I want to finish by a few updates…

I have managed to feel well enough to get into my art studio recently (not as often as I’d like, but even a couple of hours a week is wonderful) and I have finally realised the vision I had to create a piece of art to donate to the Haematology Department where I am being treated. I have called this piece ‘Hope’ and I wanted it to be vibrant, with the gold leaf embellishment representing the hearts of gold of all the staff there.

I have also been curating a collection of jewellery and small paintings to donate to an event being held in the village hall to raise funds for 3 great charities: Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK. It’s very relaxing to create the ‘skins’ for the jewellery and then assembling the pendants, bracelets and earrings. Here is an example of some of the cabochons I have created (note, it’s difficult to convey the shimmer of these in photos, sadly, but they are beautiful IRL!).

I’m also now a third of the way through my treatment, having completed cycle 4 today! It’s still rather tough handling the side effects of the powerful drugs I am taking, but I am coping – doing what I can when I feel well enough, and being kind to myself when I can do little more than lie on the sofa under a blanket! As always, my thanks for reading. I love hearing your responses to my news and musings, so please either leave a comment at the end of this post or send me a message. I’m fine if I’m publishing my personal thoughts into a void, because it helps me to reflect, but it would be even nicer if it provoked a conversation!

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About Me


Hi, I'm Angela, also known as 'Space Angel ‘, on Twitter and 'Snakey' to my family (both monikers require a long story to explain!). I'm 58 and the proud mum of Charlie, my 26-year-old son. I live alone in my cottage in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, a beautiful village in the Tanat Valley in North Wales, and the location of the tallest waterfall in Wales.


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