Chapter 22 – One Year On

A Plan B life can be just as good or better than a Plan A life. You just have to let go of that first dream and realise that God has already written the first chapter of the new life that awaits you. All you have to do is start reading! – Shannon L. Alder

I got over the shingles and slipped back into the routine of family life. While the shingles had set me back by a few weeks, overall I was doing very well and the doctors were very pleased with how I was responding.

I had my final hospital visit of 2007 in early December and everything was looking very good with my bloods and other results. I was also passed fit to return to work in January 2008. That was wonderful news to receive and it was the final hurdle for me to get over so as I could get back to my life fully. I was under strict instructions to return gradually and to take it very easy.

As a family we could look forward to Christmas and a brighter new year. I wrote a note on the very back page of my 2007 journal which simply said: “Here’s to a better New Year for all of us”.

Christmas is my favourite time of the year and we always make a huge deal of it in our house. I had hated feeling so ill the previous Christmas as it had ruined it for me and for the family. Christmas 2007 was going to be different.

We got the boxes of decorations and trees down from the attic in mid-December and as I looked at the large boxes I started to cry. Christmas 2006 had been suspended in freeze-frame for us the previous year. It was almost the end of January when I got around to putting the Christmas decorations away. As the head elf in our house, I was the one who oversaw all the decorating and tree trimming. I was also the one responsible for detangling the lights, wrapping the delicate baubles and packing everything away for another year.

When I was putting the decorations away in January 2007, I had left hand-written notes and instructions on the boxes for Bryan and the kids, because I was terrified I was not going to make it to Christmas 2007. I wanted to be sure that they would know what decorations went on each tree and where all the other Christmas trinkets and pieces went. As well as being a typical Mum and leaving practical instructions, I also wrote little messages of love to the kids and Bryan, telling them I loved them. I knew that Christmas would be difficult in the future if I wasn’t around and I thought that they would have the little messages from me as a surprising reminder each time they took down the boxes. As I read the messages written in large black writing on the outside of the boxes I was overwhelmed with emotions and a feeling of sheer joy at being around to celebrate another Christmas with Bryan and the kids.


Christmas 2007 was a wonderful time with family and friends and I totally spoiled the kids simply because I was around to do so.

On New Year’s Eve 2007 I sat and watched the fireworks over the sky in Newbridge and I made just a few resolutions/wishes:

  • To stay well for another year
  • For as many more Christmases as possible.

It was going to hopefully be a year of going downhill for a change.


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