I find writing about Judy's cancer journey cathartic. That's a word not often used, and it means that openly expressing strong emotions is really good for my head.
It also turns out that my writing about it is good for Judy's head too, and more.
By me finding a voice in this blog it also helps Judy to have a voice.
I have always been very protective of Judy and my family, and I would do anything for them. I'm certainly not running up a flag that I'm some unique super hero or anything special in this regard, as quite possibly everyone on the planet shares this exact same social trait of being protective with close loved ones.
As everyone has experienced themselves, we can become quite different people when those we love are faced with danger, injustice or pain.
The way we react to loved ones threatened is something I've not really ever given much thought to. What I've done previously has depended on the situation. For now and the future, the threats to Judy posed by cancer will sometimes be extreme and physical, or possibly threats from inaction, or more probably threats to her mental wellbeing. I expect that direct action may be needed by me to help at times, but I think for the other times just sharing our story is going to be quite protective.
Me telling everyone about Judy's experiences with cancer means that she doesn't have to. Sometimes it's hard to describe things. Sometimes it's hard to keep composure to communicate effectively. Sometimes the needs and sensitivities of others are deemed more important. Sometimes it would just feel like complaining.
Judy is most certainly not a complainer.
As an example, she did not make any sort of fuss even while in childbirth with our twins. There was no screaming. There was no kicking. There was no "You did this to me you bastard!" or "You'll pay for this!" She eagerly drove herself to the hospital when the lads heralded their imminent arrival with broken water, and I was told as soon as practical that maybe I should get my arse there pronto. She loved being pregnant, and loved the experience of giving birth to our wonderful sons, even though it was hard as Hell to bare them to being. And to this day she still adores every bit of their existence, as do I.
So not a complainer, rather she is a Pollyanna.
Pollyanna was the title character in a best-selling book of the same name written early last century by Eleanor Porter, and the term entered the vernacular soon after it was written and widely read. It is used to refer to a person as having irrepressible optimism who has a tendency to find good in everything. The story was made into a film in the 1960s, which I enjoyed many years later, and is worth a watch if you want a quick dose of optimism realignment.
But bring a tissue box along for the experience.
What makes Judy so universally liked by such a broad cohort of friends and acquaintances is that she has an infectious quality. She focuses on positives, considers the needs of others before her own, she thinks about how someone will feel and react before acting or opening her mouth, she remembers details about the daily lives of others and genuinely cares and asks after them, she almost never openly criticises others for believing things differently, and she always accepts everyone.
She is a truly genuine, respectful, selfless and optimistic person.
The young character Pollyanna did not yet have her voice stifled by society. Her world was innocence and unshakable hope. Whether it was looking forward to the town fair (or bazaar as it was wonderfully called), or brilliant rainbows caused by light refracted by prisms, or roast chicken, or eating raw peas from the pod, or "glad games", Pollyanna was always positive.
Much earlier in Judy's life, when she was a young character, Ansett the airline beat a good quantity of the openly overt innocence out of her through intensive flight attendant training (conditioning?), and also restrained and always composed exposure to the mixed bag that comes from serving an often needlessly needy, and sometimes downright rude and shitty traveling public.
That training and many years of experience to follow it reinforced her natural selflessness, and grew her confidence too by being immersed in a brilliant and social environment. Customer service at the expense of oneself was priority one, but there was always something great to talk about in the back galley, too.
She sure was one damn good flight attendant in attitude, aptitude and application.
I think that time also helped shape the most wonderful human being, best friend and partner that I now share our journey with.
There are downsides to these simply wonderful traits as far as mental and sometimes physical self defence goes, and I would delight in a few more outspoken outbursts by her at times.
Where she can't or won't find a voice to protect herself, I feel compelled to help her find it.
(This feeding twins is tricky, but wonderful stuff... Alastair left of picture, Seb working to the right.)