On Wednesday night I composed an email to my friend in Canada updating her with my Easter news and asking about her holiday in Florida. I sent it and thought nothing of it when an hour later I had a response, till I read the response. Her dear son Fergus had lost his battle to cancer gone aged only 36 leaving his two-year old daughter, his wife and his heartbroken family.
But it is not my grief it is their’s. Yet I feel as if I want to punch something hard. I want to kick out and I want to scream. I love spring time. Yet the last few days full of sun and blue skies just seem wrong. How can new life begin when one that offered so much has been taken away? I am sitting here in St Boswells and out there in Canada, Fergus little Fergus ,who I babysat for when he was the same age that my son is now, is lying in a coffin as his family and many friends visit and prepare for his funeral on Monday.
The Blairs have always played a huge part in my life. From an early age I knew about Stella and Ron and their boys Cameron and Graham who lived in Toronto Canada and always sent such glamorous presents through the post. They were later joined by Fraser and Fergus and after a few visits to Scotland we made the journey to Toronto to see them. In truth I didn’t want to go. At the time all I wanted to do was visit the USA and Canada seemed boring in comparison. I didn’t particularly like the USA it proved a huge disappointment to me but I fell in love with Canada and the Blair family home.
So much so that I spent two summers out there staying with them and if I hadn’t fallen in love with my husband there is a strong possibility I would have gone and lived there. Those summers brought me into the heart of another family and I loved and cherished them all as they were so different from us from a family of girls to a family of boys. It was so big and punchier but I loved it. And there the life long friendship with Stella began which has never left me. At first we kept in touch with letters and phone calls and holidays over there with Andy my husband. Now email allows us to keep in more regular contact though physically its been a few years since I saw Stella and many years since I saw the rest of the family.
I have known of Fergus’s illness since August last year a comment from one of the boys making me realise all was not well. And then Stella told me the news. It was the illness we all dread Cancer and the outlook wasn’t good. But Fergus just as he had when he was a boy was fighting hard and was as positive as he could be . He had a lot to fight for his beloved daughter and wife, a family and his teaching career which had made such a difference to the lives he touched. He talked of coming to Scotland with his wee family and seeing the Scottish islands.
And as time went on the news got better his scans showed improvement but Cancer is a cruel evil disease and it creeps up when you are not expecting it to devastate and destroy. Their grief is not my grief their grief is so much more than mine and much deeper and profound and I want to reach out and help but I know I can’t. Nothing can. Life will never be the same again.
Nothing makes sense other than we have one life and we don’t know any of us how long that will be. Fergus packed plenty into his and made a difference and in that there is a lesson for us all.