Happy Memories

I feel good- great, in fact- at the moment, but my next round of chemo is looming large and will be next Tuesday.

I know that after the chemo, I will have about ten days of feeling ill and depressed, so I thought today I would concentrate on positives and write myself a list of some happy memories, which I can then read back over when I’m feeling rough. My hope is that it will remind me that I won’t always feel this way, and that life is good.

Add your own happy memories too! πŸ™‚

– Going on our first ever family holiday abroad, when I was nine. We went to the Greek island of Crete. My Mum had worked through all her annual leave as a locum (she was a doctor) to pay for it. We arrived in the middle of the night, and went straight to bed when we got to the hotel. When I woke up, I went running to the window and pulled open the curtains. The sight of the huge mountains behind the hotel literally took my breath away in a way that can only truly happen when you’re a child! We ate swordfish kebabs and fried squid on the beach, fed a pony that was tethered in the olive grove beside the hotel, and each day begged the management of the hotel to fill the swimming pool (it was only Easter and I don’t think they could be bothered. They filled it the day we were leaving!). We drove all around the island in a bizarre little car that seemed to be made mostly from canvas. Tourism hadn’t really taken off yet in Crete- times have changed now!

– Waking up on the ward in the maternity hospital having had Ricky. It was about 10am, I was half crazed with lack of sleep following a long and bitter pregnancy and labour, and all I could see of him was the top of his hair as he slept in the little crib beside me. I had one of those very, very rare moments of complete peace and happiness. I had fought hard (mainly with my own body) to have him, and he was finally there!

– A meal had with some of my closest friends years ago in The Mill in Dunfanaghy. We’d all piled up to the house in Donegal for the weekend, and went out to dinner to celebrate. The Mill is an incredible, world class restaurant and put up with a lot from us- changing our dinner reservations at the last minute from 4 people to 12 people, and making a special vegetarian dish for Keith who “didn’t like spinach” (he has since changed his mind, I think!!). We then all turned up looking quite scruffy (in some instances, VERY scruffy, with many piercings and a variety of facial hair) to the very posh restaurant, ate like kings and were treated like royalty. The craic at dinner was fabulous, and it made the weekend. A lot of the people at the table that night have moved to other corners of the globe now, but will always be some of my very best friends. Love you all, guys.

– As a teenager, we used to take our pony, Morning, on holiday to Donegal with us. A local farmer kindly let us use one of his stables when it was too cold for her to be out, and let us put her out with his pony, Lily, when it was warmer. I used to get up at the first sign of light, go and feed her, and then take her out for a long ride- we galloped all over the place- jumped anything that came into our path and generally tore up the locale. We broke the fence surrounding the car park at the local beach as we jumped it. I let myself into the sand dunes on Horn Head, which was accessed via a small forestry, and then couldn’t get the gate done up again, so I left it open (BLUSHES!!) so I am sure my name was MUD with the local farming community, whose animals were probably then released into the wild and would have taken quite a while to get back…it’s not all that easy to hide when you’re leaving sodding great hoof prints everywhere you go. They will have known exactly who was responsible. Morning was my ally, my partner in crime, co-conspirator and friend. Everything was done with a sense of adventure and in the spirit of friendship. She’s retired now, and has earned it. She is a bright and shining light in my life, and always has been since I first met her at the age of eleven.

– Watching dawn break from near the summit of Slieve Croob in June 1996. Ian and I had been together for about two months, and were realising quickly that the relationship was something special. We were attending a none-too-legal party which was being held in the car park of Drumkeeragh Forest (don’t you do the maddest things when you’re a kid), which is too far off the beaten track for the loud music to have offended anyone, I hope. Ian and I wandered off around the forest for a walk, and ended up looking out over the most amazing vista as the sun came up. From the top of Croob, you can see probably half of Northern Ireland laid out in front of you. There was some early morning mist on lower levels, and the drumlins (round, green hills which are common in County Down) were poking up out of the mist. The first light of the sun turned the mist pink, and I do not think I will ever forget the sight. Magical.

OK, I could go on and on! I’ve had a charmed life. I’m an exceptionally lucky girl. Sure, I have some stuff to deal with at the moment, but I hope in six months or so I can put it behind me. In ten days or so, when I feel at my worst, I hope I can cheer myself up by thinking of happy times I’ve had, and look forward to happy times to come. I have so, so much to be grateful for. Life is good.

14 Responses to “Happy Memories”

  1. November 6, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Wow, what gorgeous memories! I hope they can help be strength for you during your next treatment. Many more hugs, my friend!

    Thanks, Laura! πŸ™‚

  2. November 6, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I remember summertime dirt bike rides with my old friend Tommy, and the moment in 1995 when I realized that I was falling in love with the woman I’m now married to. I can remember actually walking along a sidewalk at the University of Virginia and stopping midstride with the realization.

    May all our good-memories list get longer and longer and longer!

    I had a similar moment, actually, when walking the dogs not long after Ian and I got together! You made me smile! πŸ™‚

  3. November 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I think I might spend a little too much time dwelling on my bad memories instead of more of the good ones.

    Maybe I could be a bit more positive…I have some good memories too.

    Thank you for sharing some of yours with me.

    My pleasure! I hope your good memories will outweigh the bad. You have a wonderful family. They will make good memories for you in the years to come!

  4. 4 Sara
    November 6, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    I have a good memory of meeting you and several other January mommies in Chicago of 2006, despite our side trip to the hospital…does that count? lol

    I hope these happy memories help you through your next round of chemo! {hugs}

    That DEFINITELY counts, Sara- I have so many happy memories of meeting you, Laura, Caitlin, Nichole and Jackie, plus (mostly) your families!

  5. 5 Leigh
    November 6, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Its funny so many of your happy memories centre around Donegal- its such an evocative place for me too, its so inspiring its not surprising life memories are made there. For me several of my best memories centre around Donegal – my most outstanding was sitting in the car in Pettigo on our way to the house in Murvagh and feeling Sophie kick for the first time, absolute bliss and in such lovely surroundings. Also Donegal centred pre Sophie was a blissful day sat in a boat anchored on a river with a bucket of ice piled with bottles of cider and fishing until the sun set with Stu, talking and laughing. Heres to loads more memories and good times xxx

    The anchored boat sounds like complete heaven- which of course is what Donegal looks like, in my humble opinion! I think everyone in the world should visit Donegal at some point in their lives! Thanks Leigh for sharing!

  6. 6 Bernadette McPolin
    November 6, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Interesting how Donegal seems to figure somewhere in a lot of people’s good memories. My earliest memory of the place goes back some years when I visited Malin Head with my late husband. We parked the car and went to explore the headland at the tip of which there is a rocky outcrop which is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel which has the sea below racing through it. He jumped over it onto the rock (he was 5ft 11) and then jumped back. Not to be outdone I did likewise except in the attempt to jump back it suddenly wasn’t looking so easy.
    I can’t remember how long I was considering my options while looking around me out on that ..
    *^~#.. rock, which included wondering if he would go looking for a plank somewhere when I took a flying leap and just made it onto the mainland, with him grabbing me by the belt of my jeans to haul me up. We both just laughed ourselves silly – which he had been doing anyway. A more recent and wonderful visit to Donegal, it’s beaches and stunning countryside confirms my belief that it is a special place. Another lovely menory is of going on horseback through parts of Kerry that are inaccessible by any other means.
    Your idea of writing down recollections of things you have done , places you’ve been and experiences you’ve had is a lovely one Suzy, and I hope you will get much pleasure and comfort from reading them later. Meantime I hope you are now feeling much better. Lots of love. XXX

    Thank you for sharing your own memories, Bernadette- love the Malin story!!!! πŸ˜› I am feeling good at the moment. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  7. November 6, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I,loved reading these. They brought a smile to my face, and I wasn’t even there for any of them! πŸ™‚ These should go a long way toward getting you through those dark days… (((HUGS)))

    Karen, I actually DEMAND that you and Brian come to the UK sometime so we can meet up. If we have to compromise and meet in Scotland, so be it. I think we would have special memories right there. πŸ™‚

  8. November 7, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Awww! You were in Chicago a couple years ago! Rats! You were sooooooo close to me!!

    I loved your memories, sweet girl. They made me smile and it was a great idea to do it now. You just might have inspired me to do the very same.

    I’m so glad our paths crossed.

    I’m so happy we’ve met too!! I’d love to hear some of yours. πŸ™‚ Who knows, I may return to your neck of the woods someday in the future- I have some great friends around there. I’d love to meet you in person, and, let’s face it, go out and get sloshed!!! πŸ˜›

  9. 9 Skry
    November 7, 2008 at 3:22 am

    LOL I still remember that trip to The Mill. I honestly hated the thought of spinach that night because my only experience of it before then was spinach boiled to death and left to go cold while the rest of the food was put out. Eugh! I love it now though and am actually making a spinach and ricotta lasagne over the weekend. Easy and tasty! I’ll fling you thr recipe if you like.

    As for memories, I have good ones eating great food at your house. I’ve also managed to turn up twice whil eyou’re pregnant with Ricky then Robbie and offer you extravagant gifts of smelly cheese and wine, then sit there wondering why everyone else is drinking/eating except you. Don’t you like my gifts? No, I’m just bad at timing/choosing them πŸ˜›

    I also remember on a Suzy-related note Brian jumping out of bed one day to head out back in Marlborough Park (he often had to jump out of bed for things, as that’s where he lived). He grabbed a pair of jeans from the clean laundry pile and proceeded to wedgie himself with a pair of your jeans. Apparently there’s little to no crotch space in womens jeans…

    Hope that put a smile on your face. If not then try imagining the time Brian fell out of the tree in your back garden and got himself hooked by the back of his pants. I wasn’t there and that mental picture makes me laugh!!

    Yes please on the recipe front!!

    How in the name of goodness did Brian manage to get into a pair of my jeans back then?? I was a teenager and still very skinny. Not like now. Those were the days!!

    I don’t remember Briney getting stuck in a tree like that. I wonder if it’s an urban legend… πŸ˜€

  10. November 7, 2008 at 7:52 am

    One of my happy memories pretty much sums up a perfect day in Dunfanaghy. It was 2-3 years ago when a group of us went down for a couple of nights. It started with a walk along the beach by the house, a swim in one of the nearby bays, a drive around Horn head (which still gives me the willies), late afternoon/early evening spent in the beer garden in Arnold’s, back to the house for frozen pizza, then out to the dunnes for drinks and chat around a fire until the wee hours. I’m very grateful for having had the opportunity to spend several great weekends at your house in Dunfanaghy. πŸ™‚

    That house is one of my favourite places in the whole world. I can’t wait to get up there for a weekend!!

  11. November 7, 2008 at 8:03 am

    That was a great night at the Mill – I recall moving into an area after dinner for a beer and we all got discerning looks haha. I remember the spinach incident as quite a talking point too!
    I’ll recall an incident that happened on the bus home today. The AC was on and it made the bus chilly instead of pleasantly cool. There was a school kid in front and to the left who was fidgeting in his bag with a jumper. I thought he was going to put it on but then he rumaged further down and pulled out a rabbit glove puppet!! He played with it for a few minutes, opening and closing the mouth like he was having a silent conversation with it then took it off and put it back in his bag.
    These are always the small daily memories that you mean to tell people when you get home but always forget or it seems pointless as a conversation piece so you don’t bother and forget – and I had until I read your blog – so there you go!

    What sort of age was the kid? That’s so funny!!

  12. 12 Leigh
    November 7, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Don’t want to monopolise the post but just wanted to say what a lovely post this has been, typically very generous of you to not only share your own special memories but also to invite everyone else to share theirs. Im glad you made me reflect and think about such special times, I am sure everyone else has got a lot of pleasure out of this post too xxx

    I’ve enjoyed it a lot too! πŸ™‚

  13. 13 Bernadette McPolin
    November 7, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    You’ve started a lovely trend here Suzy. Some time back I recalled an adventure involving a wig and a sari, which I told you about. . your mention of getting a wig jogged my memory of that, and some really good if somewhat poverty stricken times. Similarly with the Malin experience – more poignant (now) I know, but a great memory nevertheless. Keep it going girl !!
    much love xxx

    Loved your wig story! πŸ˜€

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