What George said to Ringo – a personal reflection

Tonight I watched the two part film by Martin Scorsese about George Harrison. I have always been a great lover of the Beatles. My grandparents would buy their singles for my sister and brother. I listened to Beatles albums on pre recorded tapes for hours and hours. When I got my own place in and accompanying second hand Hi-Fi gear; I bought the ‘Best of George Harrison’ in a second hand record shop. The first side comprised of Beatles songs written by George and the B side was post Beatles material. ‘Here Comes The Sun and ‘Something’ are two of my favourite Beatles songs of all time.
I digress however. George was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997 and treated with radiotherapy. Initially this appeared to be successful. In early 2001, he underwent an operation to remove a tumour from a lung. However by that time it had spread extensively. Sadly he died as a result in the November of that year. On the film, Ringo recalls visiting George shortly before his death. Ringo’s daughter was being treated at the same time for a brain tumour in another country and Ringo said he really needed to be with her. George asked if he wanted him to go with Ringo. George was at that time unable to sit up never mind stand and walk!This incredibly moving piece showed his selfless attitude to those around him.
In January 2010. I was treated for a burst appendix. 6 weeks later I was called to an outpatients clinic to be told that they had found a mixed malignant tumour in my removed appendix. I was on my own in the room as I had no idea as to why I was at clinic. I was subsequently scanned, tested and told at the end of April 2010 that I was  clear of any sign of illness. They referred me to a specialist team at the Christie Hospital in Manchester; to discuss possible preventative surgery. I had an operation in June 2010(during the world cup finals) and was home 5 days post op. I have a very large scar as a result but no other treatment. I am scanned regularly and blood tested. Two years on from first diagnosis I am clear of any illness. I sit in the waiting room in Manchester and hear stories from extraordinary people who have battled for years with horrific illness but are cheerful and positive. They share that incredible dignity and warmth that friends and family of George Harrison received from him.
Me, I feel a cheat when I sit there. I have not been ill, have not struggled and wonder where I fit in. I know we all react in different ways to trauma. My daughter nearly died in 2009 and was very ill for many months. I was not there for her on a few occasions, as I selfishly could not cope with the emotional burden of her illness. She however arose a lively dynamic person from this terrible illness. I have never arose reinvigorated from my families’ ordeal of my brush with cancer. It has not change my life for the better even though it should.
What do I learn from this all? Maybe to appreciate life more while I’m around to experience it. So many people, me included, see life as an ordeal to overcome. Surely life should be there to live and not endure. I need to remind myself of that daily. I will never be able to turn back time and be strong when my family needed it. I will never again be able to jump cheerfully albeit a little cautiously; out of bed following my op as that was two years ago. I have missed that chance but surely the opportunity is still there. I guarantee that any attempt to correct this will not be overnight or  not prone to slipping back. I have however reached a place where I need to learn from George. He seemed to love the world around him even up until he could not experience much of it. He will always be one quarter of the most famous music group ever to exist. He mixed with famous people all his life and most significantly, moved amongst them leaving happiness. You don’t have to be rich and famous to leave happiness on others though. We must all move through the world, brushing happiness onto those we live amongst (that’s an original thought btw). In the words of Ringo – Peace and Love!

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One thought on “What George said to Ringo – a personal reflection

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post and admire your honesty regarding the difficulty in dealing with an illness of a loved one and your own. We all have inner strength but not all of us believe in it completely. I see life as a challenge sometimes and I will face anything that is thrown at me. I might cry and scream along the way but if I can manage to laugh at least once every day there is hope. Life is short and although I can't avoid life's tragedies, I am in control of my happiness and my future. Thanks for sharing. Darren

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