Chemotherapy Diary - Cycle #4: Day 11

My mum had been discharged from the hospital four days before and we had spent the weekend resting.  Today, we had decided to venture outside and have a short walk around the block to get the muscles moving and regain some of her fitness.  My mum is often very tired and what with the winter months, it's very easy for her to stay indoors all day, where it's safe and not go further than the back garden.  So when I'm at home and available, I like to take her for short walks.  I find this increases her confidence and though she complains about the cold and the 'faff' of going outside, I find she is uplifted and more positive on her return from one of these walks.  So after breakfast, she got changed, we agreed on the route and went for a short walk.  On our return, we saw our neighbour in the kitchen window, washing dishes and as he saw us, he came out to greet us and ask how my mum is.  We had a nice 15 minute conversation on our respective front lawns.  My neighbour's wife passed away from breast cancer 15 years ago and is therefore well aware of the struggles that my mum is going through with her treatment.  He reminded me that I could phone him should I be at work and need anything or need him to check on my mum for me.  He is very kind and a reliable, quiet gentleman who is happy to lend a hand should we need anything.  After our chat, we went inside and I made lunch for us.  As I was washing the dishes, I noticed that someone had kindly brought our bins in from the kerb as it was rubbish collection day.  My immediate thought was that it was the neighbour who we had chatted to that morning but he was an unlikely candidate since his own bins had not been brought in from the kerb yet.  Therefore, it was most likely the neighbour to the other side of my terraced house.  The neighbour's to the right are a family of 4, a nice couple with two teenage sons.  Sometime ago, they had offered to mow my lawn as they were mowing their own, so I suspected they brought our bins in as they were doing so their own at the same time.  We live in a quiet area where residents know each others names but more importantly, look out for each other and are ready and willing to offer a hand should it be needed.  Our neighbour's allow us the privacy we desire but keep an eye on us, noticing for example, if the bins have not been brought in and lend a hand.  It's a small job, of no more than 10 seconds but is an act that can take some weight off a carer's mind should most of their day be concentrated on looking after a family member.  Love thy neighbour.  A phrase that does not really exist nowadays where there are acts of terrorism in major cities in the UK devastating families and sacrificing lives yet I see small acts of humanity on our doorstep every day.  I see it in our neighbour, who is open to me phoning him and asking that he check on my mother when I am worried at work.  I see it in the person who anonymously brought my bin in so that it be one... less... job.... that I have to do, and without recognition.  I see it in the stranger's who smile and nod at us as we walk around the block.  Yes, there are terrible acts of violence and horrifically unexplained events in this world but there are small acts of kindness that can leave a deep impression in someone's life.  These are selfless acts, that are done without agenda or purpose but are true to a person's nature.  For this, I thank cancer as I'm not sure if I would have been able to see these genuine acts of kindness should it not have invaded our lives.  Cancer brought terror into our lives but it has also helped me to see kindness which has always been there.  Kindness costs nothing to you but may be priceless to another.



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